Getting to Know Your Healthcare Team for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer may be daunting and overwhelming, but you will not be alone in your journey in beating it. Your healthcare team will guide and assist you from the start of your diagnosis, through treatment, and to the very end of your recovery. These professionals won’t only provide you with the best care, they will also serve as a source of much-needed support. In this article, we will help you get to know the various healthcare professionals that will be there during your journey.
A medical oncologist, often considered as a primary cancer doctor, is one of the first healthcare specialists that you will meet as a breast cancer patient. These doctors will run tests to properly diagnose your illness and assess your options. Medical oncologists also prescribe treatment based on the status of your diagnosis and discuss the medical drugs and services that can help you with recovery.
Clinical Nurse Specialists
Once you are diagnosed, you will work closely with oncology nurses who fulfill various functions in the mitigation and treatment of your breast cancer. Oncology nursing is a specialist nursing career, and they administer drugs and provide acute and follow-up care throughout your breast cancer journey. Furthermore, oncology nurses are often tasked to explain processes and cures to patients and family members due to their expertise and knowledge in cancer treatment.
After prior diagnosis and screening, you may be directed to surgical oncologists for treatment. These surgeons discuss various surgical options that you can undertake to stop the spread of cancer. First and foremost, surgical oncologists examine the extent of your illness by performing biopsies. Furthermore, they are the ones who conduct mastectomy, which is a well-established local therapy that can be administered to prevent the invasion of cancer cells and improve your chances of survival.
Radiation oncologists are one of the three primary oncology specialists that you can consult for the planning and treatment of your breast cancer. These physicians treat cancer patients by administering radiation through chemotherapy and external beam radiotherapy. Radiation was traditionally used to provide relief or to reduce symptoms, but radiation specialists discovered that radiotherapies and immunotherapy can be used to cure and prolong the life of breast cancer patients in advanced stages.
Radiologic Technologists are healthcare professionals who handle radiologic equipment for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. They are trained to capture images for the diagnosis of cancer using x-rays, sonography, mammography, and magnetic resonance imaging. These professionals also work closely with radiation oncologists in administering correct doses of radiation to local sites and in handling equipments for other procedures.
Breast Cancer Psychologists
A breast cancer psychologist, though not officially part of your healthcare team, can offer essential support services and assistance. They can help you cope with the emotional and mental tolls of the illness. Breast cancer psychologists acknowledge that the illness drastically alters the lives of the patients and their families. Thus, they find solutions to help patients manage their emotions throughout their recovery process. These doctors can assist you through cognitive behavior therapy, which will help you deal with your thoughts and emotions regarding your illness. They may also recommend acceptance and commitment therapy, which encourages patients to reflect about their life purpose and to direct their values and actions towards it.
Your healthcare team is made up of professionals who have undergone special training to be able to deliver the best care and treatment for your recovery. While certain healthcare services are not exactly cheap, do remember that these medical providers want to help so they may be willing to discuss various payment plans. Take the time to find and work with healthcare professionals who can provide you the care that you deserve.
Article specially written for www.breastcancerangels.org by Alison Woods