Your cancer treatment may involve several types of health care professionals who,
with you, form the cancer care team. This multidisciplinary cancer team may include:
Surgeon. Once you have been diagnosed, you may see a surgeon, a doctor who specializes in
performing operations to treat diseases.
Oncologist. Oncologists are doctors who specialize in cancer. Some may be known as medical oncologists, who
treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy, some are surgical oncologists, who
remove tumors and perform biopsies, and others are called radiation oncologists, who
treat cancer with radiation therapy. Your oncologist will work with you to create
a treatment plan. He or she usually acts as the coordinator of your cancer care.
Oncology nurses. Oncology nurses have special training in cancer and caring for patients during treatment.
They will help carry out the treatment plan your oncologist creates and will help
guide patients though treatment with activities, such as giving cancer medications,
checking your progress, and answering your questions about treatment. If you are undergoing
chemotherapy or radiation, oncology nurses will monitor and help you manage side effects.
Social workers. Social workers may provide counsel to you and your family, help you understand your
diagnosis and treatment, and assist you and your family in finding support groups
or other cancer-related services.
Psychiatrists and psychologists. Psychiatrists and psychologists are specialists that can help if you have problems
with depression or mental health. Cancer can be difficult for anyone to cope with,
so make sure to seek help if necessary. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications such
as antidepressants. Both specialists can help patients and families with counseling
and other depression treatment methods.
Rehabilitation specialists. People with cancer sometimes need help recovering after treatment. Physical therapists,
speech therapists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and others can
be helpful to many patients, depending on the type of cancer and treatment.
Dietitians. Cancer and cancer treatment can make eating difficult. Some people lose weight, gain
weight, or have trouble eating foods that provide the right energy. Registered dietitians
help people maintain healthy eating habits during and after cancer treatment.
Home health aides. Home health aides specialize in helping patients and family members manage tasks at
home during treatment, and may help with everyday chores, such as cooking food or
Other important specialists that may be involved in the treatment process include