Melanoma

Care team

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), we surround you with experts who focus completely on cancer, day in and day out.

A handful of people form the core of your care team. You have an oncologist who specializes in your disease, and a registered nurse. At some visits, you might see an advanced practice provider. A team coordinator schedules your visits. Others join your team based on your personal needs. We have specialists based at SCCA who know the issues that matter for people with cancer whether it’s helping control side effects to supportive care. They all work together – and with you – to provide support and treatment. 

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

What each team member does

Advanced practice provider (APP)

These health care professionals work closely with your hematologist-oncologist in the clinic. There are two types: physician assistants (PAs) and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs). They help provide and coordinate your treatment and can see you independently from your physician. They also help manage the effects of your disease and treatment.

Infusion nurse

You receive any infusions in a dedicated area of the clinic. Cancer nurses who specialize in infusions give these treatments. They also check you during each infusion. They respond to any medical issues that come up and help keep you comfortable.

Medical oncologist

This physician oversees your medicine-based treatments.

Your medical oncologist:

  • Evaluates you and orders any tests you need to diagnose or stage your disease.
  • Explains what your diagnosis and stage mean, and answers your questions.
  • Recommends medicine-based treatments to match your specific case. They select the medicines, doses, schedule and sequence. They also talk with you about the benefits and risks.
  • Sees you on a regular schedule to check how your cancer responds to treatment and how you are overall.
  • Offers you ways to prevent, relieve and cope with side effects of treatment — like medicine to help with nausea.
  • Coordinates with the rest of your care team if you need other types of treatment.
Registered nurse (RN)

Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician. They also assist with procedures and treatments. Nurses are resources for you and your caregiver. They answer questions and help with a wide range of topics, like how to cope with side effects or get other services you need at SCCA.

Radiation oncologist

This physician treats cancer with radiation. They prescribe and oversee this part of your care. Working with a radiation oncology team, they plan and deliver your treatments.

Your radiation oncologist:

  • Sees you if your evaluation shows that radiation therapy is likely to help. If you didn’t need radiation at the start of care but this changes, we arrange for you to see a radiation oncologist then.
  • Recommends radiation therapy to match your specific case. They decide the type, dose and schedule. They also talk with you about the benefits and risks.
  • Works behind the scenes with other radiation experts. These experts make sure you receive the right dose in the right places (dosimetrist). They also maintain the equipment used (medical physicist).
  • Answers your questions about radiation therapy, like why you need it and what to expect.
  • Sees you on a regular schedule during radiation therapy to check how your cancer responds and how you are doing overall.
  • Offers you ways to prevent, relieve and cope with side effects of treatment. 
  • Coordinates with the rest of your care team if you need other types of treatment.
Radiation oncology nurse

This person sees you when you come in for radiation treatment. They explain your treatment, check your health, answer your questions and help you with side effects.

Radiation therapist

This person positions you each time you come in for radiation treatment. This ensures your treatment is precise. They also operate the machines that deliver the radiation. 

Radiologist

This physician reads and interprets your imaging tests. They also do some types of biopsies.

Your radiologist:

  • Looks for abnormal areas on images from tests like mammography, breast MRI (magnetic resonance imagingand many others.
  • “Decodes” the meaning of your images and recommends whether to have further imaging, a biopsy or other care.
  • Does a fine-needle biopsy or core biopsy, often guided by an X-ray or ultrasound.
  • Works closely with your surgeon to tell exactly where your tumor is and how this affects the type and extent of surgery you need.
  • Places a tiny infrared chip or thin guide wire into your breast to show your surgeon which tissue to remove if your cancer is too small to feel.Answers your questions about imaging, like why you need it and what to expect.
  • Coordinates with the rest of your care team about tests and treatments you need.
Reconstructive surgeon

This physician does surgery to restore the way your body looks or works after cancer surgery. Depending on your exact needs, they may work closely with your cancer surgeon to operate on the same day. Or they may do your reconstruction later, in a separate procedure.

Your reconstructive surgeon:

  • Sees you if your evaluation shows that reconstruction is likely to help and if you are interested. 
  • Recommends surgery to match your specific case. They explain any reconstructive options you have. They also talk with you about the benefits and risks.
  • Answers your questions about reconstruction, like why to have it and what to expect.
  • Performs your reconstructive surgery, along with a team, including an anesthesiologist and nurses. 
  • Sees you after surgery to check your healing.
  • Offers you ways to prevent, relieve and cope with side effects of surgery.
  • Coordinates with the rest of your care team if you need other types of treatment.
Supportive care services

Many types of supportive care team members are here to help you and your family. They include dietitians, physical therapists, pain medicine specialists, psychologists, social workers, spiritual health staff, palliative care specialists, a naturopath and an acupuncturist.

Supportive Care Services

Surgeon

This physician does surgery to remove as much of your cancer as possible, along with a margin of healthy tissue around the cancer. They might also remove lymph nodes to check for cancer spread.

Your surgeon:

  • Sees you during your first visit, if surgery will be the first step (or one of the early steps) in your treatment. 
  • Recommends surgery to match your specific case. They explain any surgical options you have. They also talk with you about the benefits and risks.
  • Answers your questions about surgery, like why you need it and what to expect.
  • Performs your surgery, along with a team, including an anesthesiologist and nurses.
  • Sees you after surgery to check your healing.
  • Offers you ways to prevent, relieve and cope with side effects of surgery.
  • Coordinates with the rest of your care team if you need other types of treatment.
Team coordinator

Your team coordinator works closely with you and your physician. They serve as your scheduler.