The Types of Doctors You Need For Your Team

There are different types of doctor that you might want to consider making a part of your healthcare team.

The first member of your team should be a good primary care physician who will be able to provide you with your general medical care.  Just because you have cancer doesn’t mean that you are not going to develop other ailments that will require a doctor’s involvement.  Having an understanding and communicative primary care doctor will be a major asset.

Make sure that your primary care doctor knows about your cancer diagnosis and that they are willing to stay actively in touch with the rest of your team.  In the best situation, get a confirmation that the primary care physician will reach out to the other members of your team on a regular basis.

There are different types of oncologists, each specializing in a particular treatment protocol.  You will need at least one oncologist, but depending upon your cancer and its treatments you might require more than one on your team.  

1-  The medical oncologist will work with you when you need medications and chemotherapy.  In many cases, the medical oncologist will function as your team leader or the medical quarterback.  However, remember you are the Head Coach and Team Owner.

2-  A surgical oncologist will perform any of the surgical procedures required for your treatment. 

3-  A radiation oncologist who will take charge of the administration of any radiotherapy treatments or scans that may be necessary. 

4-  If you have a childhood cancer a pediatric oncologist should be on your team.  If there is a pediatric oncologist on the team, they will be the team leader or medical quarterback.

5-  Women with gynecological cancers should consider bring on a GYN oncologist on to the team.

Depending upon your needs there should be additional specialists on your team.  These other team members can be both physicians and non-physicians.  

The other physician team members might be drawn from areas like pain management, geriatric care, or pulmonology medicine.  The non-physicians could be nutritionists, social workers, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists or specialty nurses.   

Make sure that all your doctors are Board Certified, licensed, and actively taking regular continuing education classes in their specialty.  The non-physicians should also be licensed and actively taking regular continuing education classes.