Preparing For Your Visit

Your Care Team at UPMC CancerCenter

Your health care team will be lead by your oncologist (also called your attending physician) and the oncology nurse — the two primary team members who provide care for each patient:


A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. He or she will direct your evaluation and will design a treatment plan and follow-up care for you. Types of oncologists who may be involved in your treatment of cancer include:

Oncology nurse

A nurse who is specially trained to care for cancer patients and their families. He or she works with your doctor in the management of your care including:

Other members of your health care team

Behavioral medicine specialist

A health professional whose special training provides support and information to those coping with being ill or with some parts of cancer treatment. Support groups and coping programs are available.

Clinical directors and primary nursing care coordinators

UPMC personnel devoted to overseeing nursing and patient care services.

Clinical research coordinator

A RN who coordinates your participation in a clinical research study if you consent to being in a clinical trial. This nurse monitors your care under the study and works closely with your oncologist and oncology nurse.

Financial counselor

A staff member trained in assisting cancer patient to understand their insurance coverage, billing for health care services, details about the cost of care, and ways to pay for it.

Medical assistant and patient service technician

Staff who assist oncology nurses in caring for cancer patients by keeping supplies and equipment available.

Nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA)

Specially trained staff who work under the direction of your oncologist and the oncology fellow. They evaluate and manage signs and symptoms of illness. They may obtain your medical history, perform physical examinations, and help with or perform a variety of treatments and procedures.

Oncology clinical nurse specialist

An experienced cancer care nurse for patients whose treatment involves new or complex procedures. The oncology clinical nurse specialist works closely with other oncology nurses to assist them in providing comprehensive care for patients and their families.

Oncology dietitian

A specially trained dietitian whose education and experiencecenters on managing the particular nutritional needs of cancer patients during treatment (decreased appetite, weight loss, or difficulty chewing or swallowing). You can also receive advice on specific food preferences, recipes, and ways of food preparation to assure proper nutrition. Ask your oncologist or oncology nurse to refer you to the oncology dietitian.

Oncology fellow

A fully trained doctor, enrolled in a program that provides additional education in the medical or surgical aspects of cancer care. He or she works under the guidance of your oncologist and will be involved in your daily care.

Oncology pharmacist

A pharmacist on staff who prepares all drugs given during treatment and provides drug information for patients and family members. When necessary, the oncology pharmacist also will contact your local pharmacist about your prescriptions.

Oncology social worker

A specially trained, licensed social worker who is experienced in providing counseling and support to the cancer patient and the family. Oncology Social Workers are often able to help when there are concerns about the diagnosis of cancer and the effect it may have on day-to-day activities, marital and family relationships, friendships, employment and finances. The oncology social worker is also a valuable source of information about support groups and other resources available in the community.

Pain management team

Specially trained professionals, with members from several disciplines (including physicians, psychologists, pharmacists, an acupuncturist, interventional pain specialists and others), to help patients cope with pain.


A medical doctor trained in diagnosing disease by examining biopsy (sample) tissues or fluids from surgery to determine whether cancer cells are present and, if so, what type they are. This information helps your oncologist plan your treatment.


A specially trained staff member who obtains blood samples. Frequent blood samples are needed throughout your evaluation and treatment.


A medical doctor trained the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of emotional disorders, he or she can prescribe medications and provide support to help cancer patients cope if they feel depressed or anxious.


A mental health professional who provides support and counseling for people with cancer and their family members. Services include:

Radiation therapist

A technician who works with your radiation oncologist to design and administer your radiation therapy. This therapist identifies the specific areas for treatment, plans the dosage, and operates the treatment machines.


A doctor who is trained in reading x-rays and scans. The radiologist helps the oncologist determine your diagnosis, plan appropriate treatment, and evaluate your response to treatment.

Your oncologist or nurse may recommend these services or you may ask to consult with a health care team member at any time.