Many doctors, specialists and other health care professionals will be involved in your care at one time or another. Get to know them, learn from them and be honest with them. This will help you understand your diagnosis and be more comfortable making decisions about your care. Some of your team members may include the following.
- Medical oncologists treat cancer with drug therapy and other medications.
- Surgical oncologists operate to remove cancer tumors and have special training in performing biopsies.
- Oncology nurses provide inpatient or outpatient care in a cancer treatment facility.
- Pulmonologists are doctors who have special training in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs.
- Thoracic surgeons operate in the chest.
- Thoracic radiologists are experts at imaging the chest.
- Respiratory therapists are health professionals trained to evaluate and treat people who have breathing problems or other lung disorders.
- Radiation oncologists treat cancer using radiation therapy.
- Patient navigators/nurse navigators serve as guides throughout the continuum of care, from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up. They may also be patient advocates, helping identify barriers to treatment such as the need for transportation or help with copays and deductibles, and accessing resources to resolve such barriers.
- Palliative care specialists work to provide physical and emotional relief for cancer symptoms and treatment-related side effects.
- Rehabilitation specialists/physical therapists help restore movement and build physical strength after cancer treatment.
- Nutritionists/dietitians help meet nutritional challenges that arise during and after treatment.
- Oncology pharmacists have special training in how to design, administer, monitor and adjust chemotherapy for cancer patients.
- Geriatric specialists are physicians who focus on the health care of elderly people.