During your treatment, you will come in contact with many healthcare professionals. These people make up your treatment team. They will work with each other and with you to provide the special care you need. Your treatment team may include some of the healthcare professionals listed below.
Ideally, your treatment will be provided and managed by a gynecologic oncologist. Gynecologic oncologists are obstetrician-gynecologists who have an additional 3-4 years of special training in the comprehensive surgical care and medical treatment of female reproductive cancers including primary peritoneal cancer. A gynecologic oncologist can manage your care from diagnosis to completion of treatment. Women with primary peritoneal cancer who have their cancer surgery done by a gynecologic oncologist have higher cure rates than women who have surgery done by any other type of physician. The better survival is related to the fact that gynecologic oncologists are more likely to remove more of the cancer at the time of surgery and more accurately determine the stage of the cancer.
You also may be treated by a:
- Medical oncologist who specializes in using drug therapy (chemotherapy) to treat cancer.
- Radiation oncologist who specializes in using radiation therapy to treat cancer.
- Oncology nurse who specializes in cancer care. An oncology nurse can work with you on every aspect of your care, from helping you understand your diagnosis and treatment to providing emotional and social support.
- Social worker or patient navigators who are professionally trained in counseling and practical assistance, community support programs, home care, transportation, medical assistance, insurance and entitlement pro-grams. They are very helpful advocates, especially when you are first diagnosed and unsure what to do next.
- Nutritionist or registered dietitian who are expert in helping you either maintain or initiate healthy eating habits. This is important in the recovery process.
These professionals can help you overcome potential side effects of treatment such as poor appetite, nausea or mouth sores. It is important to note that natural remedies and supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a naturopathic physician in consultation with your gynecologic oncologist.
Talking with Your Treatment Team
You deserve expert advice and treatment from your treatment team. Be sure to talk openly about your concerns with the members of your treatment team. Let them know what is important to you. If it is hard for you to speak for yourself, these tips may help:
- Make a list of questions before your visit. Ask the most important questions first.
- Take notes or ask if you can tape record your medical office visits and phone conversations.
- If you don’t understand something, ask the treatment team member to explain it again in a different way.
- If possible, bring another person with you when you meet with members of your treatment team to discuss test results and treatment options.