The Multidisciplinary Treatment Team
Because most women with gynecologic cancers receive more than one type of treatment, care is given by a team of specialists, rather than just one physician. A gynecologic oncologist usually takes a lead role on the treatment team because he or she has expertise and experience with the complex surgical procedures used to treat these types of cancer.
A pathologist is another important member of the team. Pathologists specialize in examining tissue samples and bodily fluids to diagnose disease. The pathologist on your team will examine tissue obtained at biopsy or during surgery to determine the stage of disease, which is what drives treatment decisions.
Additionally, both diagnostic and clinical specialists, as well as support staff, may provide care to you as part of your multidisciplinary treatment team. Possible members of the team include:
- Radiologist (interprets the results of diagnostic imaging studies)
- Geneticist (specialist in the science of genes and heredity)
- Genetic counselor (specializes in providing information and support for genetic issues)
- Physician assistant/nurse practitioner
- Social worker
- Patient navigator
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Support staff
- Team coordinator
Using a multidisciplinary approach, team members work together to develop a complete and unified treatment plan. Members typically meet on a regular basis to discuss the patients under their care and to assess the effectiveness and progress of therapy.