Your Cancer Support Team: Who’s on Your Side?
Build the Best Cancer Support Team for All Your Needs
The Heart of Your Cancer Support Team: Your Doctor and Nurse continued...
"The essential part of picking a doctor is finding someone whom you can
trust and with whom you can communicate. If you feel the doctor is being
clear, and understands your needs, that is a good sign. Fortunately, there
are many outstanding physicians around the country. In cancer medicine, as in
most types of complex medical care, experience matters, and clinics or
physicians with extensive familiarity with your kind of cancer can often
provide care with insights not always available everywhere," says
There are other things you should consider. For instance, see a doctor who’s
been recommended, either by your personal physician, family, or friends. Also,
make sure that your doctor has a lot of experience in treating your specific
type of cancer. See these related articles about
questions you could ask your doctor and about
what to look for in a specialist before you begin to choose your cancer
In many cases, your oncologist will work closely with an oncology nurse or
nurse practitioner. You may find that you deal with your nurse the most.
"Doctors are often very focused on delivering treatment with a high
degree of technical accuracy. Oftentimes, nurses who know the patient well will
have additional insight into how the patient is doing from a broader point of
view. That is why it is so important to have an effective team of
providers -- doctors, nurses, administrative staff -- all working together in
your care," Burstein says.
Ades says that for many people, the duo of the oncologist and nurse forms
the core of the cancer support team. They should guide you through your
treatment. Just make sure you know who they are.
“When they get diagnosed with cancer, people see so many experts so quickly
that some don’t even know who their doctor is,” says Buckner. That’s a problem.
If you have any doubt, just ask. It may seem like a silly question, but you
have to know who is coordinating your treatment -- and whom to call with