Cancer Treatment Team

Your cancer treatment team may include many types of healthcare providers, such as:

  • Surgeon. Once you have been diagnosed, you may see a surgeon. This is a doctor who does surgery to treat diseases.

  • Oncologist. This is a doctor who treats cancer. Some are medical oncologists. These treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy. Surgical oncologists remove tumors and do biopsies. Radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation therapy. Your oncologist will work with you to create a treatment plan. He or she may also act as the manager of all your cancer care.

  • Oncology nurses. These nurses have training in treating cancer and caring for patients during treatment. They will help carry out the treatment plan your oncologist creates. They will give you medicines, check your progress, and answer your questions. If you have chemotherapy or radiation, oncology nurses will help you manage side effects.

  • Social workers. These give support to you and your family. They will help you understand your diagnosis and treatment. And they will help you and your family find support groups or other services.

  • Psychiatrists and psychologists. These are specialists that can help with mental and emotional health. Cancer can be to cope with. Make sure to seek help. Both types of specialists can help you and your family with counseling. Psychiatrists can also prescribe medicines for depression and anxiety.

  • Rehabilitation specialists. People with cancer may need help recovering after treatment. Physical therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and others can help you recover. The type of rehab you need depends on the type of cancer and treatment.

  • Dietitians. Cancer and treatment can make eating difficult. Some people lose weight or gain weight. You may have trouble eating foods that give you the right energy. A dietitian helps people keep healthy eating habits during and after cancer treatment.

  • Home health aides. Home health aides help patients and family members manage tasks at home during treatment. They may also help with chores such as cooking food or cleaning.

Other specialists that may be part of the treatment process include:

  • Hematologists. These are doctors who treat blood disorders.

  • Radiologists. These are doctors who diagnose diseases by looking at X-rays and other types of imaging tests.

  • Pathologists. These are doctors who diagnose and identify types of diseases with lab tests.

  • Pharmacists. These are professionals who dispense medicines and help you learn to take them safely.