Your cancer treatment team may include many types of healthcare providers, such as:
Surgeon. After diagnosis, you may see a surgeon. This is a healthcare provider who does surgery to treat diseases like cancer.
Oncologist. This is a healthcare provider with special training to diagnose and treat cancer. Some are medical oncologists. These treat cancer with medicines like chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Surgical oncologists remove tumors and do biopsies. Radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation therapy. Your oncologist will work with you to create the treatment plan that's right for you. Your oncologist may also act as the lead healthcare provider for 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 get chemotherapy or radiation, oncology nurses will help you manage side effects.
Social workers. These professionals help you and your family find support and deal with challenges cancer might bring. They will help you understand your diagnosis and treatment. They can also help you and your family find support groups or other services.
Psychiatrists and psychologists. These are specialists that can help with your mental and emotional health. Cancer can be hard to cope with. Ask for 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 it hard to eat. Some people lose weight or gain weight. You may have trouble eating foods that give you the right nutrients and energy. A dietitian can help you eat well during and after cancer treatment.
Home health aides. Home health aides help patients and family members manage at home during treatment. They may also help with chores like cooking or cleaning.
Other specialists that may be part of cancer treatment include:
Hematologists. These are healthcare provider who treat blood disorders, like blood cancer.
Radiologists. These are healthcare providers who diagnose diseases by looking at X-rays and other types of imaging scans.
Pathologists. These are healthcare providers who diagnose and identify diseases with lab tests.
Pharmacists. These are professionals who dispense medicines and help you learn to take them safely.