Cancer Care Coordinator
Cancer care coordinators support and guide you through your course of treatment by coordinating information and care with your team of physicians and allied health professionals. Your cancer care coordinator serves as your educator and advocate. He or she will work with you to make sure you understand your individual cancer diagnosis and treatment options. They will also provide direct support and access to resources such as chaplains, family counselors, support groups, end-of-life care, cosmetic services, psychological services, cancer rehabilitation services, and therapists. Your cancer care coordinator knows that the more you understand your diagnosis and treatment plan, the better prepared and less anxious you will be. He or she ensures this by providing you and your family with education and psychological support. They will listen to your concerns; coordinate physician appointments and follow-up care; assist in managing paperwork; and help you sort through all of the necessary information you receive during your cancer care. Meet your Cancer Care Coordinators
You will encounter clinical nurses throughout your treatment at Willmar Regional Cancer Center. Clinical nurses are registered nurses who will assist you when going for chemotherapy infusion, radiation treatment, and in other procedural and diagnostic areas. Nurses perform a variety of services. Each one collaborates with the physicians on the patient care team, providing patients and families with a consistent source of information, education and support during office visits. Nurses who administer chemotherapy and other therapies through intravenous infusion receive specialized education. Research study nurses are trained to identify specific problems that may arise for patients participating in a clinical trial.
The oncology pharmacist on site works directly with your health care team to ensure a safe and effective program of medication, chemotherapy, antibiotics and other medicines that your illness may require. They provide drug information for patients and family members, and when necessary, the oncology pharmacist will contact your local pharmacist about your prescriptions.
Medical physicists work with radiation oncologists to ensure that each patient receives the appropriate radiation dose during radiation therapy treatments. Medical physicists also work with radionuclides (molecules that emit radiation), which are sometimes used in imaging tests. In addition, medical physicists may perform quality control of radiation therapy equipment.
A radiation therapist is a healthcare professional who administers radiation therapy as prescribed by a radiation oncologist. Radiation therapists educate patients about radiation treatment and its potential side effects. The radiation therapist monitors treatment and shares results with other members of the patient care team.
Medical dosimetrists are responsible for assisting the radiation oncologist in planning your treatment through the use of computers, computed tomograph (CT) scans, special X-ray films and measurements of your treatment area. These professionals use guidelines given by the radiation oncologist for the dose to be delivered. The goal of the dosimetrist’s work is to design a combination of fields that adequately treats the area of disease while avoiding areas of sensitive normal tissue. Additionally they calculate the radiation dose delivered to the tumor and normal structures, and assist the medical physicist in quality assurance.
Genetic counselors can help interpret the results of genetic screening tests and information from personal or family histories. They also make referrals to psychologists and other counselors trained to help patients cope with the challenges that may arise from genetic testing.
Nutritionist / Registered Dietitian
Both cancer and the treatment can take its toll on your body and affect your appetite. A registered dietitian can assist you with general nutrition counseling, assessment of individual nutritional needs, suggestions for coping with side effects of cancer treatment, use of nutritional supplements, and healthy weight management.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of emotional disorders. He or she can prescribe medications and provide support to help cancer patients cope if they feel depressed or anxious.
A psychologist is a mental health professional who provides support and counseling for patients and their family members. Services include: behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy and support sessions, psychiatric consultations, psychological evaluations, relaxation and stress management training.
Rehabilitation therapists are licensed healthcare professionals who are trained to help patients regain functions that were compromised during cancer treatment. Rehabilitation therapists specialize in providing physical, occupational, speech, or recreational therapy services. Rehabilitation therapists work closely with psychiatrists, who prescribe rehabilitative therapies.