Nuclear medicine

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 make up the core of your nuclear medicine team. You will have a nuclear medicine specialist who interprets your imaging scans. They also design and manage any nuclear medicine therapy that you get. A technologist does your scans, and a nurse helps with your care. You may also see the team’s advanced practice provider. A patient care coordinator schedules your visits. 

Others may join your team based on your personal needs. Along with your oncologists, we may call in other types of specialists to help plan or provide your treatment. We have specialists based at SCCA who know the issues that matter for people with cancer.

Supportive care providers are also here to help. You may see SCCA dietitians, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers and others. All of them are experts in caring for people during and after cancer.

Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment, such as treating cancer with radiation. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

What each team member does

Advanced practice provider

Advanced practiced providers have training that is similar to physicians and can see you without your physician. At SCCA, these health care professionals work closely with the rest of your team. There are two types: physician assistants (PAs) and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs). They help provide and plan your treatment and also help manage the effects of your disease and treatment.

Nurse practitioner A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. In cancer care, a nurse practitioner may manage the primary care of patients and their families. A registered nurse who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Nurse practitioners are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. In cancer care, a nurse practitioner may manage the primary care of patients and their families, based on a practice agreement with a physician. Physician assistant A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a physician. A health professional who is licensed to do certain medical procedures under the guidance of a physician. A physician assistant may take medical histories, do physical exams, take blood and urine samples, care for wounds and give injections and immunizations.
Nuclear medicine specialist

This physician uses small amounts of radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat diseases. 

Your nuclear medicine specialist will:

  • See you if we expect nuclear medicine to be part of your treatment.
  • Explain, along with other team members, what your diagnosis and stage mean.
  • Recommend nuclear medicine therapy, such as peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), to match your specific case. They decide the type, dose and schedule. They also talk with you about the benefits and risks.
  • Work behind the scenes with other oncology, radiation and imaging experts. These experts make sure you receive the right dose and operate the machines that do your scans.
  • Answer your questions about nuclear medicine therapy, like why you need it and what to expect.
  • See you on a regular schedule during therapy, usually at the time of each treatment, to check how your cancer responds and how you are doing overall.
  • Offer you ways to prevent, relieve and cope with side effects of treatment.
  • Work with the rest of your care team if you need other types of treatment.
Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores. Stage The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.
Patient care coordinator

Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physicians. They schedule your visits.

Supportive care team

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, genetic counselors, palliative care specialists, naturopaths and acupuncturists.

Supportive Care Services

Genetic counselor A health care professional with special training in medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors help patients and families who have, or who may be at risk of, a genetic condition. A health professional who has special training in medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors help patients and families who have, or who may be at risk of, a genetic condition. They help patients find out their chances of having a genetic condition or of having a child or other family member with a genetic condition. They also help patients understand their options for genetic testing, including its risks and benefits. After genetic testing is done, genetic counselors help patients understand their test results, including how the results can affect other family members. They also provide counseling and support. Palliative care Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease; any side effects caused by treatment of a disease; and psychological, social and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. May also be called comfort care, supportive care or symptom management.