How Treatment is Determined
The choice of treatment (also called a treatment protocol) will depend on where your cancer is, its size and type, and the stage of the disease. Whether or not you have already been treated for cancer will also influence the type of treatment you receive.
Your age, general health, occupation, and the side effects and consequences of treatment will also be considered. Often, more than one option may be available to you, and the final decision on a treatment protocol will involve discussion between you and the members of you health care team.
Questions You May Want to Ask Your Doctor
- What is the stage of my disease?
- What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend? Will I have more than one type of treatment?
- What are the benefits, risks, and side effects of each treatment?
- How will my treatment affect my normal activities?
- How long will my treatment last?
Your Multidisciplinary Team
- Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeon): A surgeon who deals with conditions in the ear, nose, throat and related structures in the head and neck.
- Neurosurgeon: A surgeon specializing in disorders of the nervous system including the brain, spinal column, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.
- Ophthalmologist: A specialist in medical and surgical eye problems.
- Plastic Surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in reducing scarring or disfigurement that may occur as a result of accidents, birth defects, or treatment of disease. The plastic surgeon may also be involved in improving function after tumor removal.
- Neuroradiologist: A subspecialty radiologist who focuses on abnormalities of the nervous system, spine, head and neck.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: A dental specialist with special training in surgery of the mouth and jaw.
- Craniofacial Surgeon: A plastic surgeon who specializes in repairing or reshaping the face and skull.
- Oncologist: A doctor specializing in the medical therapies of cancer.
- Radiation Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in the use of radiation to treat cancer.
- Rehabilitation Specialist: A medical professional who is trained in the use of physical treatments.
- Social Worker: A professional who is trained to provide counseling and practical assistance to meet your specific needs.
- Speech and Swallowing Pathologist: A specialist trained to help with speech and swallowing disorders.
Many patients find it helpful to keep a complete list of contact information for each member of your health care team that you can keep handy as a reference. Be sure to include: the name of each professional on your team, their role in your treatment and their telephone numbers and extensions, along with the hours they can be reached.