As a patient at Ochsner, you benefit from a truly collaborative approach to cancer treatment. At the very beginning of care, you will be evaluated at a multidisciplinary conference – a roundtable made up of a highly skilled team of physicians, oncology nurses, dieticians, social workers, researchers and other dedicated healthcare professionals. Your referring physician will remain part of our team and will be kept abreast of your progress every step of the way.
And then there’s you, the patient. You and your family are considered vital members of the team as well. The Oncology Nurse Navigator plays a key role in the care process, serving as liaison to help you navigate what could otherwise be a complicated process.
When undergoing cancer treatment, there is a team of oncology professionals that will help you along your journey. Each member of your “care team” has a specific role and will assist with a branch of your care. Together they will work to ensure we provide you with the most comprehensive care possible.
Here is a list of some types of providers that you may meet during your time with us. Not every patient will need all of the below types of providers. How many providers you have, and which types, will depend on your treatment plan.
During treatment, you may need guidance on your treatment options or path forward. Your Nurse Navigator is your main contact for general questions, education, and coordination of care. Read more about Nurse Navigation..
We understand that the stress that comes from a cancer diagnosis does not disappear after the initial appointment. Every new success or failure brings new concerns and questions to both patients and caregivers. Psychological services are offered at Ochsner to help patients and their loved ones manage this stress. Our Oncology Psychologists are not only trained in psychology, but also very knowledgeable about cancer biology and treatment side effects. They are available to meet with patients and/or caregivers to provide a more comprehensive approach to coping with illness. You can read more about our Oncology Psychology Program, as well as our entire Integrative Therapy Program here.
Medical Oncologists are doctors that treat your cancer systemically, or through the bloodstream. These treatments try to not only kill the cancer at its source, but also prevent it from spreading further within your body. Learn more about our medical oncology program here.
Fellows are physicians that temporarily work at an institution to learn more about a specialty. You may encounter an oncology fellow during your treatment journey. This will be a physician who is working to specialize in one aspect of oncology treatment, such as surgical oncology or medical oncology. They work closely with the other providers at Ochsner to contribute to your care in the most comprehensive manner possible.
Surgical Oncologists treat cancer by removing all or some of it from the body. These are specialized surgeons who understand cancer and how it behaves/spreads, so that they can better determine what surgical procedures may benefit you. Learn more about our surgical oncology program here.
Radiation Oncologists use radiation therapy, or targeted high energy rays, to treat cancer. They undergo vigorous training and can determine the correct dose of radiation to have maximum benefit on the cancer while protecting the other healthy organs around it. Learn more about our Radiation Oncology program here.
Advance Practice Providers
Advance Practice Providers include both nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. They support your physician in your care and are great sources of information and medical advice during your treatment.
Palliative Care Provider
Palliative care is the treatment of symptoms and stress related to disease or medication to improve quality of life. Your Palliative Care Provider will work with you to develop a treatment plan that targets specific issues or symptoms that you are having. It does not replace treatment for cancer, but rather supports it. You can read more about Palliative Medicine here.
Oncology Social Worker
Many resources are available to patients during cancer care. Sometimes it is difficult to understand and access these resources without guidance. Your Oncology Social Worker can help with things like transportation, lodging, disability paperwork, and home medical equipment. They can also be excellent resources related to stress management and coping. Learn more about our Oncology Social Work program here.
At Ochsner’s Cancer Center, a registered dietitian will work along with your doctors, nurses and support staff to identify opportunities for nutrition intervention. Medical nutrition therapy provided by a dietitian includes a complete nutrition assessment with a review of your medical history, lab and test results and diet history. A plan to accomplish your personalized nutrition goals will be developed and your ongoing progress will be monitored and evaluated. Learn more about our Oncology Nutrition Program here.
A Financial Coordinator works with you and your insurance company in determining the benefits of your policy and can provide information about other funding sources. They can help with financial assistance, Medicaid, and Medicare applications as needed. They are also a great resource for billing questions and setting up payment plans.
Our coordinators are available for in-person meetings at most of our cancer centers, and always available by phone: 855-226-6523.
Clinical Trial Staff
If your treatment for cancer consists of a clinical trial or research study, you may be assigned a research coordinator or other clinical trial staff to assist with your progress through the study. The staff in the Clinical Research Department will assist with explaining the trial, consenting, and enrolling you in the study. Throughout your trial participation, they will monitor you closely for side effects and complications and assist in scheduling any tests or procedures that are necessary. They will also communicate frequently with your provider about your progress. You can read more about our Oncology Research Programs here.
Oncology pharmacists play an important role in the delivery of care for individuals living with cancer. Oncology pharmacists work with your physician to ensure a current and accurate medication list, select the most appropriate therapy, monitor the effects of medications prescribed, and manage the adverse effects that often accompany cancer treatment. They also can meet with you to discuss your treatment and answer questions.