Our Cancer Team
North Mississippi Medical Center’s cancer team is multidisciplinary, including surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists and medical oncologists. These physicians, along with other members of the support team, work together to provide the best cancer care possible.
Depending on what course of treatment you and your physician choose, your team may include:
Surgeon: Surgery can play a key role in diagnosing cancer or in removing cancerous tumors. Most people with cancer have some type of surgery. Some surgery is minor and can be called procedures, while some are much bigger operations. The most common types of cancer surgery include:
- Preventive surgery to remove tissue that's likely to become cancer - even though there are no signs of cancer at the time of the surgery.
- Diagnostic surgery to take out a piece of tissue and testing it to determine whether or not someone has cancer and what kind of cancer it is. This is often called a biopsy.
- Staging surgery, which is done to find out how much cancer there is and how far it has spread.
- Curative surgery is usually done when cancer is found in only one part of the body and it's likely that all the cancer can be removed. It may be used alone or along with other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which can be given before or after the operation.
- Debulking surgery is used to remove some, but not all, of the cancer. It is sometimes done when taking out all of the tumor might cause damage to other organs or tissues. The surgeon would take out as much of the tumor as possible and then treat what's left with other treatments.
- Palliative surgery is used to treat problems caused by advanced cancer. Palliative surgery helps ease problems and helps people feel better, but is not done to treat or cure the cancer itself.
- Restorative surgery is used to improve the way a person looks after major cancer surgery, or to restore the function of an organ or body part after surgery.
Medical Oncologist: Medical oncologists have special training in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist is often the main health care provider for someone who has cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and coordinates treatment given by other specialists.
Radiation Oncologist: Radiation oncologists use high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be given before or after surgery and/or alongside other cancer treatments.
Palliative Care Physician: Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness.
Cancer Patient Navigators: The patient navigator acts as a patient advocate for newly-diagnosed cancer patients. The navigator assists patients in accessing referrals and resources that meet their individual needs, and will follow a patient through the continuum of care and treatment to help assure the patient's needs are being met. The navigator works with all members of the cancer team to coordinate care.
Tumor Conference: Fighting cancer takes a team of health care providers—surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, nurses, technicians and more. NMMC holds weekly cancer conferences, including dedicated breast and lung cancer conferences, where each new cancer diagnosis is reviewed by a multidisciplinary group of physicians and other health care professionals. Everyone comes to the table with their own perspective and ideas, and works together to make sure the patient is getting the best care possible. The team communicates about every patient so that the treatment plan is individualized and takes into account all the clinical viewpoints.
Social Worker: A social worker helps patients and families handle the changes associated with a cancer diagnosis. Issues can include work-related stress, marriage and family disruptions, financial troubles, depression, anxiety, phobias, child and adolescent problems, well-being and spiritual concerns.
The cancer team also includes pathologists, dietitians, radiologists and more.