What to Expect From Your Health-Care Team
Before the era of modern medicine, doctors were expected to be all
things to all people. Because medical science and cancer care have
become highly complex, you will have an opportunity to talk to other
professionals whose knowledge and skills are different from your
doctor's. Cancer care requires a team approach. The medical team
includes your doctor and those consultants he or she uses to help you.
Other members of the team (nurses, social workers, physical,
occupational, and speech therapists, nutritionists, clergy and patient
representatives) should be available to you if you need their
services. It's impossible for your doctor to have the special
knowledge these people have acquired in their education and
experience, just as they do not have a doctor's specialized knowledge
of medicine. Your doctor should make you aware of all available
services so you can decide if they would be helpful. If you do work
with one or more of these professionals, you can expect that they and
your doctor will work together on the coordination of your care and
that everyone will be working toward the same goalhelping you maintain
the quality of your life. Good cancer care is a team effort, and your
doctor should refer you to those team members who, if necessary, will
help you manage your illness.
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