Your Healthcare Team: Oncologists and Other Key
Treating any type of cancer can be intimidating, but it's always important to remember that you are not alone. Your KIT+ GIST treatment team will be behind you every step of the way, each person helping you get the most optimal care you can.
Click on each member of your team to get familiar with what his or her role will be in your treatment plan.
A team of experts is there for you
With GIST, as with any kind of cancer, it's your condition, but you're not on your own. There's a team of people behind you every step of the way. All of them are there to help you get optimal care by concentrating on his or her own medical field in order to deliver results and provide accurate recommendations.
These people may also be referred to as an "oncology team" or "patient team," and it's worth knowing what each member is responsible for.
Members of the team
Your primary care doctor and a gastroenterologist will likely form the team's foundation. A gastroenterologist specializes in the function and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomach, intestines, and associated organs.
Once you are diagnosed with GIST, an oncologist will become an important member of your team. In fact, your medical team may be composed of both medical and surgical oncologists, as well as radiologists, and oncology nurses.
In addition, your team may consist of liver, gallbladder, and bile duct surgeons; molecular pathologists; and surgical pathologists.
The importance of your medical oncologist and surgical oncologist
An oncologist specializes in the physical, chemical, and biological properties and features of tumors, including causes, pathogenesis, and treatment.
A skilled surgical oncologist is important because GISTs are often encapsulated—soft, fragile tumors that may rupture and need to be handled with care.
Why do I need an oncologist?
When a cancer is present, it is important to talk to an oncologist, even if you were initially diagnosed by a gastroenterologist.
Your medical team should include an oncologist with expertise in sarcomas. GIST is a type of sarcoma.
Some oncologists are also surgeons. They are called surgical oncologists.
What role do radiologists play?
A radiologist is a physician trained in the diagnostic and therapeutic use of X-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Monitoring your treatment requires various scans, so radiologists will fulfill a vital role in reading and reporting the results to your other doctors.
Why are oncology nurses so vital?
Oncology nurses are there to help you through the process of dealing with GIST—from hearing about your concerns and symptoms to helping you understand your condition.
It's likely you'll spend more time with nurses during your treatment than with your doctor. Nurses are responsible for implementing much of the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, from drawing blood for tests to administering medication.
Your Personal Support Team: What Is the Role of Your Caregiver? Read more.
Possible Questions for Your Doctor Download PDF