Once your doctor has all the specific information about your
cancer diagnosis, you will talk about all the treatments considered appropriate for your case. No one doctor is able to provide all the care and services you may need, and you will quickly learn about new people who will be on your treatment team. Some of the medical experts who may be part of your treatment team are:
Anesthesiologist: a doctor who gives drugs or gases that keep you comfortable during surgery.
Gynecologist: A doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of women's reproductive systems. This doctor or your primary care doctor can serve as the manager and main source of information among your treatment team members and you.
Nutritionist or dietitian: a health professional with specialized training in nutrition who can offer help and choices about the foods you eat.
Oncologist, medical oncologist, or cancer specialist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy or hormonal therapy to treat cancer. This specialist can put together all the information about your case and can discuss your treatment choices with you.
Oncology nurse: a nurse with special training in caring for cancer patients. You may also receive care from a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner.
Oncology pharmacy specialist: a person who prepares anticancer drugs in consultation with the oncologist and can answer your questions about chemotherapy.
Pathologist: a doctor who examines tissues and cells under a microscope to determine if they are normal or abnormal.
Physical therapist: a health professional who teaches exercises that help restore arm and shoulder movement and build back strength after breast cancer surgery.
Plastic surgeon or reconstructive surgeon: a doctor who can surgically rebuild (reconstruct) your breast.
Primary care doctor: the doctor who usually manages your health care and can discuss cancer treatment choices with you.
Psychologist: a specialist who can talk with you and your family about emotional and personal matters, and can help you make decisions.
Radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation (X-ray) therapy to treat cancer.
Radiation therapist: a health professional who gives radiation treatments.
Radiologist: a doctor with special training in reading x-rays and performing specialized x-ray procedures.
Social worker: a professional who can talk with you and your family about your emotional or physical needs and can help you find support services. An oncology social worker has specific training in working with cancer patients.
Surgeon or surgical oncologist: a doctor who performs biopsies and other surgical procedures such as removing a
tumor or an organ.
A SECOND OPINION
Once you receive your doctor's opinion about what treatments you need, you have the right to get more advice before you make up your mind. Other doctors' opinions can help you make one of the most important decisions of your life. Getting another doctor's advice is normal medical practice, and your doctor can help you with this effort. Many health insurance companies require and will pay for other opinions.
Another opinion can help you:
* Confirm or adjust your treatment plan based on the diagnosis and stage of the disease.
* Get answers to your questions and concerns and help you become comfortable with your decisions.
* Decide about taking part in a research study of new breast cancer treatment methods. (See Clinical Trials)
To get a second opinion:
* Ask your doctor to refer you to another breast cancer specialist who is not already on your treatment team. Take along your mammogram films, biopsy slides, pathology report, and proposed treatment plan when you see this doctor.
* Contact The Cancer Information Network for help in locating cancer
trials or cancer centers that may be in your area.
* Talk with women in breast cancer organizations, cancer survivor groups, or other women who have been through breast cancer treatment. Keep in mind, however, that all breast cancer cases are not the same. Individual experiences and treatments may be different.