A team of specialists will be involved with your diagnosis and treatment. Your team may include:
- Medical oncologist: This doctor is often the main health care provider for a person with cancer. This doctor diagnoses and treat cancers using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, and targeted therapy.
- Breast surgeon or surgical oncologist: This doctor performs surgery to remove breast tumors and possibly nearby lymph nodes.
- Plastic surgeon: This doctor specializes in reconstructing or repairing parts of the body, such as the breast after a mastectomy.
- Pathologist: This doctor examines biopsy samples under a microscope to look for cancer cells and to determine the type of cancer.
Other members of your team may include:
- Oncology nurse: This type of nurse specializes in caring for people who have cancer. They give medications and help coordinate your care.
- Nurse practitioner or physician assistant: These health care providers may do physical exams, give treatments, prescribe medications and help doctors manage your care.
- Dietitian: Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of cancer treatment. This nutrition specialist will help you meet your dietary needs.
- Rehabilitation therapist: These health care providers include physical therapists, occupational therapists and recreational therapists. They help you maintain a high level of activity and independence throughout your treatment and recovery.
- Psychologist: This specialist talks with patients and families about emotional and personal matters regarding cancer, and can help make decisions about your care.
- Social worker: This professional is trained to talk with patients and families about emotional or physical needs and find support services when needed.
- Genetic counselor: This health professional is trained to talk with patients and families about the genetic risk of disease and options for genetic testing.
- Patient navigator: This team member will help guide you through the treatment process, including counseling on financial and other support services.
Finally, don’t forget that an important member of your team is you. Treatment works best when you take an active role. Learn as much as you can about your cancer and all your treatment options.