Your Medical Team
Your healthcare providers are a key part of your support team. Many hospitals take a team-based approach to care, meaning your providers work together to follow your case and meet regularly to discuss your treatment.
When putting together your team, ask yourself: “Do I trust and feel confident about this person? Do we communicate well? Did this person listen to my questions and concerns?”
The people below may be involved in your care. They are organized in the order in which you might meet them throughout treatment.
A radiologist reads pictures of organs and tissues and looks for disease. The radiologist reads mammograms, sonograms, ultrasounds, MRIs, CAT scans, bone scans, and PET scans. Some radiologists specialize in breast imaging, while others are general radiologists. Sometimes more than one radiologist may be involved in your care.
A reproductive endocrinologist is an expert on fertility. Meeting with this type of doctor early on, before treatment begins if possible, can help you understand how breast cancer treatment could affect your ability to become pregnant in the future. He or she can explain what to do to improve your chances of having biological children.
A medical oncology nurse is a registered nurse with special training in the medical and emotional needs of people with cancer. Oncology nurses give anti-cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted treatments. They also can help you manage side effects and the emotional aspects of dealing with cancer.
A physical therapist performs and teaches exercises to help you maintain strength before starting treatment and to improve recovery.
When you start treatment, ask which doctor will coordinate your care. If you have questions, you should be able to contact your main doctor, even if you just want to ask which person to call.