The Care Team

If you have hereditary cancer, your care team at Lehigh Valley Health Network includes a medical oncologist, and a genetic counselor. You'll likely see many other caregivers as well. These health care professionals work together to ensure you receive the best possible care throughout your journey. Here are the people you are most likely to see, and what they do to help you get better.

If a physician on your care team is board-certified, he or she chose to obtain an additional credential after medical school and residency training. Board-certified physicians have completed additional education and passed an examination to earn this credential. If one of your caregivers is fellowship-trained, the physician has had additional training in a particular area of interest.

Medical oncologist: A medical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist often is the main health care provider for someone who has cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists.

Primary care doctor: Your primary care doctor is your family doctor. While your cancer care will be managed by oncologists, you still will see your primary care doctor for other medical concerns, so it is important for him or her to understand where you are in your cancer journey.

Genetic counselor: Genetic counselors specialize in assessing your personal and/or family history of cancer, review the benefits and limitations of genetic testing, and discuss whether a patient is a candidate for testing. He or she will make recommendations for cancer screening and a risk-reduction plan tailored to the patient's level of risk. There will be ongoing follow-up visits for patients who have an identified inherited cancer syndrome.

Social worker: A social worker can help you with finances, insurance, discharge plans, housing, and other social and family problems arising out of illness or disability. At Lehigh Valley Health Network, we have a social worker specifically for people with cancer.

Medical assistant: Medical assistants do scheduling, prepare patients for exams, perform some office procedures or tests, handle phone calls and serve as a liaison between the health care provider and others.

You will see several other caregivers and support staff if you stay in one of our hospitals. Meet the members of our inpatient team and learn how they will help you.