Treatment Specialists for Ovarian Cancer
Even if your primary care doctor or your gynecologist thinks you have or has diagnosed you with ovarian cancer, you will likely need care from specialists. Treatment for ovarian cancer often includes many methods to help manage the disease. This means multiple specialists are generally involved in care.
An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in cancer. There are a variety of specialties within oncology. Knowing who does what can help you better understand your treatment team.
A doctor who specializes in treating cancers of a woman’s reproductive system is called a gynecologic oncologist. This means that along with standard medical training, they have done additional training in their specialty. They can perform surgery and prescribe anti-cancer drugs. Gynecologic oncologists are also medical oncologists. This is why they can prescribe chemotherapy and other drugs to treat cancer.1
Radiation oncologists specialize in treating cancer with radiation therapy. After standard medical training, they complete specialty training in treating cancers using radiation. Some radiation oncologists may also specialize in certain methods or technologies.2
Other treatment team members
You might have several members on your treatment team, depending on your specific needs.
Oncology nurses are one important part of treatment teams. They provide care and monitoring after surgery, as well as before, during, and after chemotherapy or radiation. They will also be available to monitor your side effects and answer your questions.
A nutritionist can help you put together a healthy diet. The right nutrients and calories can help you stay healthy during and after cancer treatment. This can be especially important if you lose weight or need to gain weight during treatment.
Palliative care providers
Palliative care providers may also be part of your team. Palliative care is often confused with hospice. However, palliative care is medical care that focuses solely on providing pain and symptom relief from serious conditions or treatment side effects. It can be used during treatment, after surgery, or with any other treatment, you may be receiving.3
You might also encounter social workers, psychologists, or other therapists or counselors. Cancer is a serious illness that can be stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Sometimes the drugs used to treat cancer can have challenging mental and physical side effects.
Therapists and counselors can provide support to you and your family during your cancer treatment and recovery. They can also help you find a support group so you have a safe place to talk with other people who are going through similar experiences.
If there was a genetic link to your ovarian cancer, a genetic counselor may be part of your treatment team. They can help you and your family understand the genetic risks of developing ovarian cancer or related diseases for everyone in the family. They can also answer questions about genetic risk factors and help you understand genetic test reports.4
Things to consider
Your ovarian cancer treatment team can vary depending on your personal or medical needs. Talk with your doctor about any difficulties or issues you may be having. Together, you can work out a treatment plan that is best for you.