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Your healthcare team will explain your options. They can answer any questions you have. They’ll work with you during all stages of your treatment. Members of your healthcare team may include:
Primary care physician. This is a doctor who oversees your health needs.
Head and neck surgeon. This is a doctor who does mouth and throat surgery. He or she may be an otolaryngologist (ENT). This is a doctor who treats ear, nose, and throat diseases. Or he or she may be a general surgeon. This is a doctor who also does other kinds of surgery.
Dentist. This is a doctor who treats tooth and gum diseases and injuries.
Nurses. Nurses care for you and teach you how to care for yourself.
Oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
Anesthesiologist. This is a doctor who gives medicine to prevent pain during and after surgery.
Pathologist. This is a doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues with a microscope.
Radiation team. These are doctors and therapists who use high-energy X-rays to treat problems.
Speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. These are people who help you recover after treatment.
Dietitians. These are people who help plan your diet during and after treatment.
Pain management team. These are healthcare providers who give medicine to control pain.
Plastic/reconstructive team. These are doctors who do corrective surgery if a large amount of tissue is removed.
The American Cancer Society offers the following tips for working with your healthcare team:
Take an active part in your care.
Keep a list of tests, treatments, and hospital stays you have had. As team members change, this will be helpful information.
Expect and work to instill an attitude of trust, mutual respect, and cooperation.
Give accurate health information.
Always have another person with you when you talk with a team member. Ask that person to take notes.
Tell your team members when you are confused or frustrated.
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