Chemo Before or After Surgery

Last Modified: January 7, 2013


When is it appropriate to get chemo before surgery versus after?


Suzanne Walker CRNP, MSN, AOCN, Nurse Practitioner for Thoracic Malignancies at Penn Medicine responds:

Most people will receive their chemotherapy after surgery ("adjuvant therapy"). Some people may receive their chemotherapy before surgery in certain circumstances such as when the tumor is too large or in a particular location that would make surgery difficult or impossible. In these cases, "neoadjuvant" (before surgery) chemotherapy may help to shrink the tumor and make the operation feasible.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on Lung Cancer Webchat.


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