Your Radiation Therapy Care Team

There are many people that are part of your radiation therapy care team. These people work together to provide your treatments and support you and your family/caregivers during your radiation experience.

We Are Here For You!

Meeting many different people may feel overwhelming, but we hope you take comfort in knowing that you have a team of experts committed to supporting and caring for you!

By the way, don’t worry about remembering everyone’s names and roles.

Each person you meet will always wear a name badge with their job title. And they are all used to answering questions from patients and families about who they are and what they do on the care team. So, don’t be embarrassed to ask!

Getting to Know Your Care Team

Each provider on your care team plays a unique role. The time you spend with each care team member varies.

  • You will see providers like your radiation therapist, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist regularly since they will be a key part in your everyday care.
  • Others, like your medical dosimetrist and medical physicists, work behind the scenes. You may not see them very often, but they are an integral part of your treatment.

Click the image to learn more about the team and who you will engage with the most (the larger circles closest to the patient).

The Clinical Team: Breaking it Down

There are many doctors and nurses on your clinical team, let’s look at the collective roles they play in your care.

Plans your radiation treatment and therapy

Under the guidance of the radiation oncologist, this team works together to calculate, assess, and plan your radiation therapy.

This includes calibrating and ensuring the radiation equipment delivers the correct and most effective treatment.

Radiation Oncologist
  • Who They Are: Cancer specialists or radiation cancer doctors who are trained in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancers.
  • What They Do: They assess, plan, and oversee your radiation treatment.
  • When You See Them: They will meet with you throughout your treatment.
Medical Physicist
  • What Are They: Scientists that specialize in calculating radiation treatments and equipment to deliver the best treatment results.
  • What They Do: They work with your radiation oncologist and review and confirm treatment calculations. They also make sure the machines are working properly and that the treatment plan is safe to deliver.
  • When You See Them: You may meet them but they mostly work behind the scenes.
Medical Dosimetrist
  • Who Are They: Health care providers that specialize in the use of radiation oncology treatment machines and equipment.
  • What They Do: They calculate the safest and most effective treatment plan using radiation oncology treatment machines and equipment.
  • When You See Them: You may meet your medical dosimetrist, but they usually work behind the scenes with your radiation oncologist.

Assist with your radiation treatment and therapy

These providers work with your radiation oncologist to support you during your radiation treatment- helping with any medical or lifestyle issues, and supporting your healing and recovery.

Clinical Nurse Specialist/ Nurse Practitioner
  • Who They Are: Advance-degree nurses that partner with your radiation cancer doctor to assist in your radiation treatment.
  • What They Do: They support your care by helping you with medical issues and lifestyle changes, including recommendations for strengthening your own health, healing, and recovery.
  • When You See Them: Often, they are part of your everyday care.
Physician Assistant
  • Who They Are: Medical professionals who partner with your radiation oncologist during your treatment.
  • What They Do: They support your care by helping with medical issues and lifestyle changes. They may also suggest things you can do to support your own health, healing, and recovery.
  • When You See Them: Often, they are part of your everyday care.
Residents and Fellows (Radiation Oncology)
  • Who Are They: Doctors receiving specialized education.
  • What They Do: They observe and assist your radiation oncologist and will often accompany the radiation oncologist to your appointments.
  • When You See Them: Periodically. You will see them whenever your radiation oncologist has a resident with them.
Clinical Social Worker
  • Who They Are: Licensed mental health professionals who partner with your clinical care team to support your healing and recovery.
  • What They Do: They support your care by helping you with any psychological, psychosocial, cultural, financial, and continuing care needs you or your family members may have.
  • When You See Them: You will see them as needed.

Provides your radiation treatment

These technicians are with you during every radiation treatment. They operate the radiation machines that deliver your treatment.

Radiation Therapist
  • Who They Are: Technicians trained to deliver radiation treatment to patients.
  • What They Do: They operate the machines that deliver your radiation treatment according to the plan developed by your radiation oncologist and other team members.
  • When You See Them: You’ll see them every time you get radiation therapy.

Supports your radiation treatment (coordinating, scheduling, resources and support)

This team acts as your key contacts, helping you with all the logistics related to your radiation therapy, such as scheduling. They also provide guidance on education and resources throughout your experience.

Nurse Coordinator
  • Who They Are: Specialized registered nurses who provide one-on-one support to guide you through your cancer experience.
  • What They Do: They act as your key contacts in managing your care, from the first appointment through follow-up visits. They assess your needs, answer your questions, make referrals, coordinate appointments, and offer education.
  • When You See Them: Often. Your nurse coordinator will be talking and communicating with you regularly throughout your treatment.
Medical Assistant (MA)
  • Who They Are: Team members that support the care team by providing administrative and care duties.
  • What They Do: Provide assistance to you and the care team during appointments.
  • When You See Them: At each appointment.

Patient Support Team

In addition to your clinical care team, there are other team members who help support your administrative needs during your radiation therapy experience.

There are also research coordinators and clinic appointment schedulers if you are taking part in a research study.

  • New Patient Coordinator – Coordinates and schedules your initial visit with the radiation oncologist.
  • Authorization Coordinator – Works with your insurance provider to obtain authorization for your office visits and radiation treatments.
  • Coder – Ensures that the billing for your treatment is complete and accurate.
  • Front Desk Staff – Greets you and checks you in for your appointments.
  • Clinical Administrative Assistant – They assist your care team staff with administrative tasks such as finding patient housing or filling out disability or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) paper work.