Health

Your cancer team

Which specialist does what to help you fight breast cancer

From the moment you enter into treatment, you’ll be seen by a variety of cancer care specialists. Here is a list of your health-care team members and what they do:

Family doctor
· Makes the initial assessment, provides referrals and co-ordinates your care.
Breast cancer surgeon
· Does a clinical breast examination.
· Performs biopsies, lumpectomy or mastectomy, and lymph node removal.
· May offer breast reconstruction after surgery.
Pathologist
· Examines the fluid, cells or tissue from biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies and lymph node removal for the presence of cancer cells. Her findings will help determine the type of tumour present.
Medical oncologist
· Supervises and performs the chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
Radiation oncologist
· A medical doctor specializing in the use of radiation to treat tumours.
Oncology nurse
· Attends and assists you during surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
· Provides follow-up care for wound and skin treatment.
Oncology social worker
· Provides counselling to you and your family concerning your emotions about the disease and treatments. She also gives guidance about non-medical needs such as family finances.
Chaplains, clergy, pastoral care workers
· Support you and your family and offer spiritual guidance according to your beliefs.
Physiotherapist
· Offers specialized exercises to aid in your recovery and improve your strength.
Psychologist/psychiatrist/psycho-oncologist
· Specialists who help you learn to cope with the emotional, physical and lifestyle changes you are facing, as well as with medical treatments that can be painful and traumatic.