The Care Team
If you have brain cancer, your care team at Lehigh Valley Health Network includes a neurosurgeon, neurologist, and medical and radiation oncologists who also treat brain cancer. 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.
Neurosurgeon: A neurosurgeon is part of the team that cares for brain cancer. Our neurosurgeons offer the most advanced surgical and nonsurgical techniques.
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.
Physician assistant: Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals who practice medicine under a doctor's supervision in medical and surgical settings. They can perform routine exams, order lab work and X-rays, prescribe medicines and counsel people about their health.
Nurse practitioner: Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses (RNs) who have advanced education and clinical training. They can perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat health problems, order lab work and X-rays, prescribe medicines and provide health information.
Radiation oncology nurse: Radiation oncology nurses are registered nurses with advanced certification in the care of oncology patients. Educated in radiation therapy, they assist you in preparing for treatments and help you with any problems you may have during your care.
Oncology clinical nurse specialist: These specialists are registered nurses who have master's level education and are certified in advanced oncology. They are clinical experts who are available to assist the nursing staff.
Clinical trials nurse: Lehigh Valley Health Network is actively involved in clinical research. Clinical trials are medical research studies that enlist volunteers to learn whether new medications, practices or devices are safe and effective. They are designed to find better ways to prevent or treat illness or disease. Participating in a research study is completely voluntary. If you choose to participate, you will be assigned a nurse who can help guide you and answer questions you may have.
Radiation therapist: Radiation therapists are certified professionals experienced in the delivery of treatment and use of our treatment machines. The therapists assist your radiation oncologist with treatment planning and in the delivery and scheduling of your daily treatment.
Radiation physicist: Radiation physicists are individuals certified and experienced in radiation physics at the MS or PhD level. They make sure your radiation treatment is planned, calculated and delivered accurately. This includes making sure the treatment machines are performing properly. The physicists work closely with your doctor to help plan your treatments.
Medical dosimetrist: Medical dosimetrists are certified members of the radiation oncology team. Dosimetrists have knowledge of the radiation beams produced by the treatment machines and specialize in planning your treatment. The medical dosimetrist works closely with the medical physicist and radiation oncologist to design and optimize your treatment plan.
Physical therapist: Physical therapists determine if you need therapy while in the hospital, and if so, will start you on a program. They also recommend whether or not you need additional therapy at a rehabilitation center or skilled nursing facility before going home. Physical therapy is common after certain types of cancer surgery.
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.