Meet Our Team of Healthcare Professionals
Your cancer care team is made up of many different health care professionals who work together to meet your needs. They are experienced in diagnosing and treating your type of cancer and include specialists in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
The medical oncologist is often the lead member of your health care team. This physician is responsible for reviewing your medical history, conducting physical examinations, ordering lab tests, scans, and any other diagnostic tests that may be needed. This physician has knowledge of all aspects of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and biological therapy. This physician may refer you to a radiation oncologist or a surgeon or any other specialist. You will meet with your medical oncologist regularly throughout treatment and continue afterward for follow-up visits.
St. Peter's medical oncologists are:
Radiation oncologists are physicians who plan and supervise radiation therapy treatments. These physicians work with other members of the team to develop and customize a treatment plan specific to your diagnosis. Your radiation oncologist will also monitor your progress during treatment.
St. Peter's radiation oncologists are:
Medical Physicists possess advanced degrees (MS or PhD) in Physics, Medical Physics or Nuclear Engineering and receive certification by The American Board of Radiology or The American Board of Medical Physics. These professionals are also licensed to practice Therapeutic Radiological Medical Physics by the State of New York Education Department.
Medical Physicists ensure that equipment used to deliver prescribed radiation therapy are rigorously tested for quality and accuracy and that plans of care are delivered safely and responsibly.
St. Peter's Medical Physicists are:
- Matthew Wojtecki, MS, DABR – Chief Physicist
- Amanda Dyess, MS, DABR – Physicist
- Alex Zaharakis, MS, MA, DABR – Physicist
- Joseph Herrington, MS – Physics Resident
- Jonathan Polignani, MS – Physics Resident
- Lawrence Reinstein, PhD, DABMP – Residency Program Director
Medical Dosimetrists have the education and expertise necessary to generate radiation therapy treatment plans, in collaboration with the Medical Physicist and Radiation Oncologist. Medical Dosimetrists are certified by the Medical Dosimetry Certification Board.
Radiation therapists administer the daily radiation treatment under the physician's prescription and supervision.
If you are having surgery, it will be highly individualized, depending on your type of cancer and its stage. You will have an office visit and physical exam with your surgeon before the day of surgery. Your surgeon will review your medical records, speak with you about your options, and may perform additional tests.
If you are admitted as a patient to St. Peter's Hospital, you may be cared for by one or more hospitalists during your stay. A hospitalist is a board-certified physician who specializes in caring for patients while they are in the hospital. In addition to physicians, the hospitalist team includes physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). They are available around-the-clock to provide care to patients in the hospital.
Nurses are usually in charge of actually implementing the plan of care your doctor has set up for you. They are trained to administer medication and monitor side effects. There are different types of nurses depending on your treatment—you may meet oncology nurses, radiation therapy nurses and/or surgical nurses. It is important to know that whether you are staying in the hospital for care or receive it on an outpatient basis, you will benefit from seeking assistance, asking questions, or getting advice from your nurse. They will assess progress throughout treatment, explain how to manage side effects and provide continuous support during treatment. Nurses are often aware of support services in your community and can usually provide you with educational materials and pamphlets.
A patient may work with a number of other health care professionals while undergoing treatment. These specialists ensure that all physical and psychological needs are met during treatment.
Community Outreach Nurse
The community outreach nurse works collaboratively with community organizations to educate the public on cancer prevention, detection and wellness strategies for a healthier lifestyle. As part of community outreach, the nurse facilitates the Women's Cancer Support Group on the St. Peter's campus and answers questions on the Cancer Care Information Line. The community outreach nurse is available in the Cancer Center to answer any questions families or patients may have regarding their cancer journey.
The patient navigator provides social and emotional support to individuals who recently received a cancer diagnosis and their families. The patient navigator helps patients along their cancer journey by providing them, when necessary, with a wig, transportation and educational materials regarding their cancer.
Social workers offer a variety of support services to cancer patients and their families. They can provide counseling to help individuals cope with the diagnosis of cancer and the necessary treatment. They may also assist in arranging for home health care and other services.
Nutritionists or dietitians work with patients to help them maintain their diet during cancer treatments. They help patients modify their eating plan if the side effects of treatment are affecting their appetite; and, will determine what the patient can eat, and can provide recipes, menu suggestions and information on ready-to-use nutritional supplements. Nutritionists address dietary issues and current developments that may affect cancer treatment outcomes.
The Pharmacists prepare all chemotherapies and other medications administered in St. Peter's Outpatient Infusion Center. The pharmacy team confers regularly with other members of the care team to ensure that patients receive consistent and safe treatment. The team is also available to answer any patient questions related to their therapies.
Other Support Services Offered
- Enterostomal therapy
- Complementary and supportive therapies
- Spiritual care
- Physical therapy (lymphedema management, vestibular (balance) therapy)
- Rehabilitation (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cognitive, audiology/hearing testing)
- Respiratory therapy
- Palliative care (including pain and symptom management)
- The Community Hospice (support groups, home care, bereavement services)