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Working With Your Health Care Team When You Have Primary Bone Cancer

To decide the best course of treatment for you, your health care team needs to know as much as it can about your cancer. Treatment for primary bone cancer is complex. You will work with more than one health care professional.

Your health care team may include one or more of these people:

  • Medical oncologist. This specialist uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Usually the medical oncologist will treat only adults or children. A medical oncologist who treats only children is called a pediatric oncologist.

  • Oncology nurse. A nurse specially trained to work with people who have cancer.

  • Orthopedic surgeon. This specialist treats the muscles, tendons, and bones. Most orthopedic surgeons do not treat primary bone tumors. Orthopedic surgeons who do treat primary bone tumors are often called orthopedic oncologists.

  • Pathologist. A doctor who checks cells (such as those taken in a biopsy) under a microscope to look for cancer.

  • Physical therapist. This professional helps your body get well.

  • Radiation oncologist. A doctor who specializes in the use of radiation to kill cancer cells.

  • Radiologist. A doctor who is specialized in radiology looks at X-rays and other imaging tests.

  • Social worker. This professional can help you get emotional or financial support.

This health care team will answer any questions you may have. It will help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests are being done. It will also give you the results of those tests. It’ll guide you in making treatment decisions. Other specialists may be added to your health care team as your treatment plan develops.

Because primary bone cancer is rare, you may have to travel to a special center for treatment. Your health care team will help you plan your travel if needed.

Children with a primary bone tumor should see doctors who are experienced in treating children. This may mean going to a children’s hospital or to a pediatric part of a medical center. Adolescents may visit special adolescent cancer units. These units have doctors who can diagnose and treat children and adolescents with cancer. They also have a team of people to help support children and adolescents. This team may include specialist doctors and nurses. It may also include social workers, physical therapists, dietitians, education specialists, and psychologists.


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