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Ovarian Cancer: Build a Winning Treatment Team

By Steven Vasilev MD

If there is a diagnosis or strong suspicion of ovarian cancer, immediately go find a board certified gynecologic oncologist. A board eligible oncologist who has completed fellowship training is an option as well. Do not let anyone, including friends, family physicians, general gynecologists, surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, or any other doctor convince you that their team is just as good in the absence of a gynecologic oncologist. You absolutely, positively need a gynecologic oncologist as part of your team!! You can find help and a list of gynecologic oncologists in your area at (Society of Gynecologic Oncologists) or (Womens Cancer Network). Your gynecologic oncologist may or may not work closely with a medical oncologist instead of administering chemotherapy his/her-self. A medical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in giving chemotherapy to patients with all different types of cancer, gynecologic or not. Most do not see as many patients with ovarian cancer as a gynecologic oncologist, but can be very important members of a team approach in treating your cancer. In centers or medical groups where treatment is regularly delivered by a multi-disciplinary team, medical oncologists play a critical role in administering the chemotherapy, working in conjunction with a gynecologic oncologist.
Primary Care Doctor - Your Primary Care Doctor is hopefully the one you already know and trust for your basic medical care. Usually, this doctor is a Family Practitioner by training, but may be an Internal Medicine doctor or a Gynecologist. Surgical Oncologist - Surgical oncologists are surgeons who spend extra years training to surgically take care of cancer patients. Nurse Practitioner - Nurse-practitioners are nurses who have gone beyond the basic RN degree and received extra training in healthcare.
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Alternative or Complementary Practitioners - Many centers have integrative medicine programs, or have at least some practitioners who represent alternative and complementary approaches to cancer care. Are you fellowship trained and board certified or board eligible?

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