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Your care team

  • Our breast cancer experts work as a team to support your physical and emotional needs. As a breast cancer patient, your care team may include physicians and other health care professionals.


    Your primary care provider guides your overall medical care. This is the first medical professional you should go to about any health concern.

    Some women choose an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) as their primary care provider. OB/GYNs are doctors who specialize in the care of the female reproductive system.

    Medical oncologists coordinate breast cancer care through the course of the disease. They also prescribe chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs, as well as pain medicine.

    Diagnostic radiologists use mammography and computed tomography (CT scan) to find breast cancer.

    Pathologists work in the medical laboratory, where they examine cells, body fluids and tissue samples for traces of cancer.

    Surgeons remove breast lumps and tumors through different kinds of surgery, such as lumpectomy and mastectomy.

    Radiation oncologists stop the growth of cancer cells with radiation therapy.

    Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians focus on relieving the pain that may follow breast cancer treatment. They work with you and your loved ones to restore your body—and your lives—as much as possible.

    Plastic surgeons offer the option of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

    Other breast cancer care team members

    Registered nurses care for patients and work with doctors throughout all stages of breast cancer.

    Cancer care coordinators meet with patients and their families to provide support and help them navigate the medical system. The same cancer care coordinator can support a patient from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.

    Mammography technologists conduct mammograms. They send the test results to diagnostic radiologists who review them for signs of cancer.

    Physical therapists can help manage pain and restore range of motion after breast cancer surgery.

    Genetic counselors address concerns about inheriting breast cancer.

    Healing coaches offer support, information and referrals for complementary therapies. While bridging the worlds of mainstream and alternative medicine, they can help address concerns and feelings raised by breast cancer.

  • Cancer care is much more than treating a disease.

    This video covers care coordination, one of the essential components of cancer care at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute.

    expand to learn more Read cancer care coordinator video transcript

  • Source: Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
    Reviewed by: Timothy Sielaff, MD, PhD, FACS, president, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute; Carol Bergren, RN, manager, Piper Breast Center; Deborah Day, MD, medical director, Piper Breast Center
    First published: 08/25/2009
    Last reviewed: 08/25/2009