Treatment

Treatment Roles

Multidisciplinary Teams

At the Siteman Cancer Center, we take a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. That means teams of doctors and other healthcare providers, all of whom specialize in providing different types of care, are available to help treat patients who come to Siteman. Our treatment teams include:

Surgeons

Doctors who treat disease, injury or defect through surgery. Surgeons who treat cancer also are called surgical oncologists. In addition to removing cancer, they perform biopsies, the removal of tissue samples to aid in the diagnosis of cancer.

Medical oncologists

Doctors who treat cancer with medications, including chemotherapy.

Radiation oncologists

Doctors who use radiation to treat cancer. These doctors work with physicists and dosimetrists to determine the best way to give radiation to patients.

Radiologists

Doctors who take pictures or images of the body that can be used to detect and diagnose cancer. At Siteman, these doctors use the latest imaging techniques, including positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasonography.

Interventional Radiologists

Doctors who treat cancer with minimally invasive techniques with the use of imaging to guide their treatments for targeted therapy. In addition to treating cancer, interventional radiologists perform biopsies, the removal of tissue samples to aid in the diagnosis of cancer. They also perform a number of other procedures that facilitate the treatment of cancer, such as placement of venous access devices that are used for delivery of chemotherapy. They also perform procedures that alleviate some of the symptoms that can develop during treatment or as a result of cancer, such as the placement of implantable catheters that drain fluid from the abdomen or chest that can accumulate and cause discomfort.

Pathologists

Doctors trained in looking at tissue samples to determine if cancer is present. Pathologists often can tell what kind of cancer is in a sample and whether cancer cells are likely to grow slowly or quickly.

Residents and Fellows

Doctors who have graduated from medical school and are receiving training in a particular specialty or subspecialty. For residents, this training lasts three to five years, depending on the specialty. Length of training also varies for fellows, who have finished residencies and are training in a subspecialty area.

Psychiatrists and Psychologists

These treatment team members help patients deal with the emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Nurse Practitioners

Registered nurses with advanced training and experience. They offer some of the same care as physicians, including performing examinations.

Oncology Nurse Coordinators

Nurses who teach newly diagnosed cancer patients about their cancers, arrange tests and physician appointments, and follow patients throughout their course of therapy. When patients have problems at home, they call their nurse coordinator, who either provides instructions for care or contacts the nurse practitioner or doctor for instructions.

Oncology nurses

Nurses who have received special training in treating cancer patients.

Pharmacists

Health professionals who prepare medicines for patients.

Social workers

Professionals trained to talk to patients and their families about the challenges and problems caused by cancer. Social workers often help patients and families find support services.

Dietitians

Health professionals with special training in nutrition who counsel patients about dietary issues related to cancer and cancer treatment.

Clinical research associates

Members of the research staff who help patients understand clinical trials they may be asked to participate in. They enroll patients in studies and make sure patients know when to return for clinic visits or follow-up testing based on the research study schedule.

Geneticists and genetic counselors

Professionals who help people with a family history of cancer determine their risk for developing the disease. They do this by taking a detailed family health history and, if necessary, through genetic testing.

Case coordinators

Registered nurses who collaborate with the health-care team to assess a patient’s psychological needs, coordinate clinical needs and provide discharge planning.

Financial specialists

Professionals who assist cancer patients with financial concerns related to their health care.

Physical therapists and occupational therapists

These treatment team members help patients keep or regain their strength and maintain a schedule of normal activities during or following cancer therapy.