At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, 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 patient care coordinator schedules your visits. Others join your team based on your personal needs. We have specialists based at Fred Hutch 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.
What each team member does
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.
This physician oversees your medicine-based treatments.
- Sees you during your first visit. They evaluate you and order any tests you need to diagnose or stage your disease.
- Explains what your diagnosis and stage mean, and answers your questions.
- Recommends 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.
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.
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physician. They serve as your scheduler.
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 Fred Hutch.
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.
If you need a bone marrow transplant, you have a specialized team from the Fred Hutchinson Bone Marrow Transplant Program. Your team includes a transplant oncologist, transplant nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, team coordinator and social worker. This team:
- Evaluates you (and your donor, if you need one).
- Selects a transplant approach to match your specific case.
- Prepares you and your caregiver.
- Performs your transplant.
- Provides care as you recover.