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1_1_2 aboutcareteam

Your Care Team at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Your oncologist (also called your attending physician) and an oncology nurse are your two main care providers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. They also lead the other members of your cancer care team.


An oncologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats cancer. He or she will manage your case, design your treatment plan, and provide follow-up care.

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, those who may be involved in your cancer treatment include:

  • Medical oncologist (treats cancer with drugs).
  • Surgical oncologist (treats cancer with surgery).
  • Radiation oncologist (treats cancer with radiation therapy).

Oncology Nurse

An oncology nurse has special training in caring for cancer patients and their families.

He or she works with your doctor to manage your care including:

  • Checking your physical and emotional health.
  • Giving your treatment.
  • Teaching you and your family how to prevent complications, decrease side effects, and take care of you at home.
  • Providing support and comfort to you and your loved ones.
  • Referring you to local cancer resources near your home.

Other Members of Your Health Care Team at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Behavioral medicine specialist

This member of your cancer care team provides support and information about parts of your cancer treatment. He or she helps you cope with being ill and can refer you to resources, such as cancer support groups and coping programs.

Clinical directors and primary nursing care coordinators

These UPMC Hillman Cancer Center staff members manage nursing and patient care services.

Clinical research coordinator

If you consent to be in a clinical trial, a registered nurse (RN) will arrange your participation. He or she follows your care under the cancer research study and works with your doctor and oncology nurse.

Financial counselor

This staff member assists you with understanding:

  • Your insurance coverage.
  • Billing for cancer care services.
  • Details about the cost of care and ways to pay for it.

Medical assistant and patient service technician

These staff members assist UPMC Hillman nurses by keeping supplies and equipment handy.

Nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA)

These specially trained staff members work under the direction of your doctor and the oncology fellow.

They assess and manage your symptoms and may:

  • Take your medical history.
  • Perform physical exams.
  • Help with or perform treatments and procedures.

Oncology clinical nurse specialist

This cancer nurse cares for people whose treatment involves new or complex procedures. He or she works closely with your primary oncology nurse to provide complete cancer care for patients and their families.

Oncology dietitian

Your CancerCenter dietitian has special training in managing the special nutritional needs of cancer patients during treatment, such as:

  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Problems chewing or swallowing.

Ask your doctor or nurse to refer you to the oncology dietitian who can also provide:

  • Advice on certain food preferences.
  • Recipes.
  • Tips for preparing food to assure proper nutrition.

Oncology fellow

This fully trained doctor is in a fellowship program that provides further education in the medical or surgical aspects of cancer care. He or she works under the guidance of your oncologist and is involved in your daily care.

Oncology pharmacist

A pharmacist on staff prepares all drugs you receive during treatment and provides you and your family with drug information. When necessary, he or she also will contact your local pharmacist about your prescriptions.

Oncology social worker

This specially trained, licensed social worker has experience in providing counseling and support to cancer patients and their loved ones.

He or she can often help when you have concerns about how a cancer diagnosis may have an effect on:

  • Day-to-day activities
  • Marital and family relationships
  • Friendships
  • Employment
  • Finances

The oncology social worker is also a valuable source of information about cancer support groups and other resources in your community.

Pain management team

Your pain management team helps you cope with cancer pain and includes members from several disciplines such as:

  • Doctors
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Interventional pain specialists


A pathologist is a medical doctor trained in diagnosing disease.

He or she studies tissue samples or fluids from surgery to see if cancer cells are present and, if so, what type they are. This helps your doctor plan your cancer treatment.


This specially trained care team member obtains frequent blood samples throughout your cancer care and treatment.


A medical doctor trained in diagnosing, treating, and preventing emotional disorders can prescribe medications. He or she can help cancer patients cope if they feel depressed or anxious.


This mental health professional provides support and counseling for people with cancer and their family members.

He or she offers services such as:

  • Behavioral therapy.
  • Individual and group therapy and support sessions.
  • Psychiatric consults and evaluations.
  • Relaxation and stress management training.

Radiation therapist

This technician works with your radiation oncologist to design and give your radiation therapy.

He or she:

  • Finds the specific areas for treatment.
  • Plans the dosage.
  • Runs the treatment machines.


This doctor has training in reading x-rays and scans.

The radiologist helps your oncologist:

  • Determine your diagnosis.
  • Plan the right cancer treatment.
  • Assess your response to treatment.

Your oncologist or nurse may recommend these services. You can also ask to consult with a health care team member at any time.