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Definition of Cancer care

Cancer care: Taking care of cancer. When cancer is suspected, a biopsy is usually performed and the tissue is sent to a pathologist for evaluation. If a cancer diagnosis is made, an oncologist will evaluate the patient to determine the stage of the cancer. Staging usually involves a precise evaluation of the tumor, lymph nodes, and any metastasis (spread) of the disease.

Cancer is ideally treated by a multi-disciplinary team of oncologists that typically includes at least two of the three primary oncology disciplines (medical, surgical, and radiation oncology). In addition, the team usually includes a pathologist, a diagnostic radiologist and an oncology nurse. The advantage of the team approach is that it combines the unique skill sets of several different disciplines into one consulting group, as cancer treatment frequently involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

In the case of a new or difficult cancer diagnosis, a tumor board may be called upon to review the case. Tumor boards consist of medical experts from all relevant disciplines who consult on the best course of treatment for an individual patient. The team should also include at different points, a dietitian, a social worker, a nurse navigator, and a palliative care specialist whenever appropriate

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=21245
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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