Choosing a Cancer Care Team

Patients with head and neck cancer should receive treatment at high-volume centers from multidisciplinary teams with expertise in head and neck cancer. A head and neck cancer care team might include a medical oncologist, a surgeon, a radiologist, a radiation oncologist, a pathologist or cytologist, a nutritionist, a speech pathologist, a dentist and a psychologist. Some of these, such as a pathologist or a radiologist, will be selected on the patient’s behalf by the cancer center or physicians’ group you choose, and you may never meet them. Others you and your loved one will see throughout the cancer journey.

Since it is recommended that the primary caregiver go to doctor visits with the patient whenever possible, you will be an integral part of the health care team and should be comfortable working with your loved one’s physicians as well. You can help your loved one think about what characteristics of care team members and treatment facilities are most important to him or her and assist in evaluating health care professionals and treatment centers based on those criteria.
We live in a wonderful world where there are people out there with the talents and technologies to deal with these problems. With every cancer case, we give those doctors information that gives the next person a better chance. With every surgery, they discover something new.Tony L. (oral cancer survivor)

More about choosing a cancer care team

The articles in this section may help you assist your loved one to choose a cancer care team and treatment facility that meets his or her particular needs.

Cancer Care Team Roles

Learn more about what kinds of professionals might be part of your loved one’s cancer care team and what role each person plays.

Evaluating a Care Team

Help your loved one to assess potential care team members and treatment facilities.

Relocating for Cancer Care

Patients with head and neck cancer sometimes have to relocate to receive appropriate treatment. Consequently, caregivers often choose to relocate with their loved ones to continue providing care and support. Learn more about this decision in this section.