What is a medical oncologist?
Your medical oncologist is a critical member of your breast cancer team. By the time you meet with an oncologist, you most likely have seen a breast surgeon and may have had your tumor removed by surgery. The goal with your medical oncologist is to work together to tailor a treatment plan with medications (hormonal medications, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy) that specifically targets your unique breast cancer and prevents it from ever coming back. Your medical oncologist will be with you for as long as 10 years, so it’s critical to find a medical oncologist you can trust.
What can you learn from your medical oncologist?
A medical oncologist can add to the knowledge you have already gained from your breast surgeon and online research. He or she should teach you about the “biology” of your unique tumor and the best treatment options for you and your cancer. Understanding this information is critical for you to be able to make the best treatment decisions. The Breast Cancer School for Patients helps with your medical oncology consultation in a unique way. We have completed the difficult task of organizing the vast field of breast cancer into one, patient-friendly site. We teach you to be a breast cancer “expert” and give you the key questions to ask your medical oncologist to make sure you get cutting-edge cancer care in your community.
Do you work with a “Multidisciplinary Team?”
Ask your medical oncologist if he or she regularly participates in a breast cancer multidisciplinary team. These breast cancer teams are usually associated with breast centers accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). The most sophisticated breast cancer treatment originates from a detailed discussion of your breast cancer situation with many specialists. These brainstorming sessions specifically about you can improve your treatment options and outcome.
Can cutting-edge advances in oncology be lifesaving?
The greatest lifesaving advances in breast cancer care are in the field of medical oncology. The overarching goal of cutting-edge research is to improve outcomes and lessen side effects of treating cancer. You must learn about these advances and specifically ask your medical oncologist if they are appropriate for your breast cancer situation. Our short video lessons at the Breast Cancer School for Patients www.breastcancercourse.org will teach you how to bring these options into your discussions with your medical oncologist. Take our lessons that cover topics like:
- Would a genomic assay help determine if I need or can avoid chemotherapy?
- What are the new drugs to treat “HER2 Positive” breast cancers?
- Do I qualify for BRCA genetic testing?
- Would I benefit from a clinical trial?
Engage your medical oncologist with questions
The Breast Cancer School for Patients helps you engage your medical oncologist. We teach you with short video lessons exactly what will be discussed so you can quickly become an expert in breast cancer treatment. You will be asked to make important treatment decisions quickly. Print out our course notes with the key questions to make sure you are offered the best treatment choices. We educate you so you can engage and work as a team with your breast cancer specialists. Get informed before speaking with your breast cancer medical oncologist.
Register for our newsletter and “Cutting-Edge” questions
Sign-up for our “Breast Health Updates & Latest Videos“ (here). Once registered, we’ll immediately email you our complete list of “cutting-edge” questions to engage your breast surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist. We help you get quality breast cancer care in your community.