Once a diagnosis of cancer has been made, you will probably talk with your primary care physician along with several cancer specialists, such as a surgeon, a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist. You will want to ask these doctors about all your treatment options.
In many cases, your cancer will need to be treated by using more than one type of treatment. For example, if you have breast cancer, you might have surgery to remove the tumor (by a surgeon), then have radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells in or near your breast or chest wall (by a radiation oncologist). This radiation can be given to the whole breast or part of the breast (accelerated partial breast irradiation or APBI). You also might receive chemotherapy (by a medical oncologist) to destroy cancer cells that may have traveled to other parts of the body.
After reviewing your medical record including imaging, as well as completing a thorough patient history and physical examination, your radiation oncologist will discuss with you the potential benefits and risks of radiation therapy and answer your questions. View a downloadable list of Questions to Ask Your Doctor.