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Who Should Be On Your Core Team During Your Breast Cancer Journey?

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Posted September 20, 2023 in Dr. Aldona Spiegel, Reconstruction, Support Group

As a breast cancer reconstruction surgeon, I have come across numerous patients who may not be aware of the importance of having a core team of experts when facing a breast cancer diagnosis. This marks the beginning of a challenging and transformative journey, where having a dedicated team becomes essential. In order to navigate the complexities of treatment, it is crucial to have a supportive network consisting of various healthcare professionals and trusted individuals. This team will provide comprehensive care, emotional support, and personalized guidance throughout your breast cancer journey. In this blog post, we will delve into the key members who should be part of your core team and highlight the valuable contributions they bring.

I strongly encourage the collaboration between breast surgeons and plastic reconstruction surgeons entails a seamless exchange of knowledge and expertise. By joining forces, they can tailor treatment plans to meet your customized need as the patient. This integrated approach not only addresses medical concerns but also focuses on aesthetic aspects, enhancing the overall patient experience and satisfaction. This inclusive approach empowers you to make well-informed decisions about your care, knowing that your medical team is united in your commitment to your well-being.


Breast Surgeon: Your breast surgeon may be the first healthcare professional you encounter after your diagnosis. They specialize in breast cancer surgery and will play a vital role in developing a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Your breast surgeon will guide you through surgical options, explain the risks and benefits, and ensure that the chosen procedure aligns with your goals.Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon: In cases where breast reconstruction is desired or necessary, a plastic surgeon with expertise in breast reconstruction procedures becomes an integral part of your core team. They will discuss reconstructive options, educate you about the benefits and potential risks, and perform the chosen procedure with a focus on restoring aesthetics and promoting emotional healing.

Medical Oncologist: A medical oncologist specializes in the systemic treatment of cancer, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. They will work closely with you to determine the most effective treatment approach based on the specific type and stage of your breast cancer. Your medical oncologist will monitor your treatment progress, manage potential side effects, and collaborate with other team members to ensure coordinated care.

Radiation Oncologist: For patients requiring radiation therapy as part of their treatment plan, a radiation oncologist becomes a vital member of your core team. These specialists are responsible for delivering targeted radiation to eliminate cancer cells. They will assess the need for radiation, develop treatment strategies, and closely monitor your response and well-being throughout the course of treatment.

Physical Therapist: Physical therapy plays a significant role in your breast cancer journey, both before and after reconstructive surgery. A physical therapist will focus on optimizing your physical function, managing pain, and enhancing your overall well-being. They will provide exercises and techniques to improve range of motion, restore strength, and reduce post-surgical complications. Pre-surgical physical therapy will help prepare your body for surgery, while post-surgical rehabilitation will aid in your recovery and the restoration of functional abilities.

Oncology Nurse: Oncology nurses provide compassionate care and support to breast cancer patients throughout your treatment journey. They offer valuable information on managing side effects, provide emotional support, administer medications, and act as a liaison between you and the rest of the healthcare team. Their expertise and empathy will help you navigate the challenges of treatment with confidence.

Psychosocial Support Professional: Coping with breast cancer can take an emotional toll on you. Psychosocial support professionals, such as psychologists, social workers, or counselors, play a critical role in addressing your psychological and emotional well-being. They provide a safe space for you to express your fears, anxieties, and concerns, offering coping strategies and resources to enhance your mental and emotional resilience.

Supportive Family and Friends: The support of your loved ones cannot be overstated in your breast cancer journey. Family members and close friends who form your support network provide emotional comfort, accompany you to appointments, assist with daily tasks, and offer unwavering encouragement. Their presence and understanding are invaluable sources of strength and motivation.

Building your patient core team is an essential step in navigating your breast cancer journey. Each member brings unique expertise, support, and guidance, working together to ensure you receive comprehensive care and holistic well-being. From facilitating treatment decisions to providing emotional support, your core team will be there to guide you every step of the way.

It’s crucial to actively involve yourself in assembling and coordinating your core team. Advocate for your needs, ask questions, and seek second opinions if necessary. Your voice matters, and your team should prioritize your well-being and preferences.

In addition to the key members mentioned above, there may be other healthcare professionals who play a role in your breast cancer journey, such as genetic counselors, nutritionists, and rehabilitation specialists. Each person contributes their expertise to address specific aspects of your care and ensure a comprehensive approach.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of support groups and survivor networks. Connecting with others who have experienced a similar journey can provide a sense of belonging, shared understanding, and inspiration. These groups can be a valuable source of emotional support and a place to exchange practical advice.

Remember facing a breast cancer diagnosis is a significant challenge, but you don’t have to face it alone. Building a strong patient core team empowers you to navigate the complexities of treatment, make informed decisions, and receive the support you need. Remember, you are the driver of your journey, and by assembling a team of dedicated professionals and trusted individuals, you can embark on this path with confidence and resilience.

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