Your Care Team
At Group Health Medical Centers, your cancer care team is led by board-certified medical oncologists (cancer physicians), radiation oncologists, and surgeons. They're joined by cancer-trained physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists. Also on your care team are your personal physician, specialists, and more — all focused on your health.
Choosing Your Doctor
At Group Health, you can be referred to a medical oncologist or choose one yourself. We want you to have a doctor you are comfortable talking to about your treatment options and other care issues. You should be confident that your doctor, and your entire care team, will guide you through treatment and follow-up care.
Some of our providers see patients at multiple Group Health locations. To see if a particular provider works at more than one location, search the Provider Directory.
Medical oncologists treat cancers and tumors with medications. They work with surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurses, and other specialists to develop treatment plans. The oncology team and patient then determine the plan that best meets the patient's needs.
"Providing excellent, patient-centered care is my highest priority."
Radiation oncologists treat cancer patients using high-energy radiation. With state-of-the-art software and equipment, like the Group Health’s Varian Clinac iX (linear accelerator), they can precisely deliver cancer-killing radiation.
Kent Wallner, MD
"I like the combination of working with a highly technical procedure (brachytherapy — internal radiation) and interacting with my patients."
These physicians focus on cancers of the female reproductive system, including cancer of the ovaries, uterus, endometrium (inner membrane of the uterus), and cervix (lower end of the uterus).
"I believe in doing the best I can to explain the disease process, your therapeutic options, and reasonable expected outcomes. As we walk together through your treatment and experiences, I want to make sure you know that there is hope each step of the way."
Surgery can treat cancer by determining its type and extent, removing or reducing cancerous tissue, and reconstructing the area after previous surgeries.
Your primary care physician or oncologist will recommend surgeons (if needed) in urology, general surgery, neurosurgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), dermatology, and more.
Physician assistants support the oncologists, providing follow-up care, chemotherapy treatment, bone marrow biopsies, and assistance in managing issues arising from treatment.
Nurse practitioners (ARNP) work with oncologists to care for patients. They may take medical histories, provide physical exams, provide chemotherapy treatment, help manage symptoms, and educate about the illness and treatments.
Nurses who specialize in oncology work with your cancer care team — doctors, chemotherapy infusion nurses, and other team members — to administer care and support for patients.
Oncology nurses educate patients about their treatments, help patients manage symptoms, make assessments of complex issues and coordinate your care. Generally they are the ones who respond to patient phone calls. They assist with medication refills, medical equipment needs, and referrals.
Chemotherapy Infusion Nurses
These specialized nurses oversee chemotherapy, including scheduling and preparing patients for treatment. The nurse administers the IV drugs and checks on the patient throughout the treatment. They can also help manage side effects that might occur from chemotherapy.
Our oncology social workers help patients and their families manage the day-to-day and long-term challenges of living with cancer.
These pharmacists have special training in how to design chemotherapy treatment plans. They help create, monitor, and change treatments for cancer patients.
Medical Geneticists and Genetic Counselors
Our clinical genetics department investigates genetic risks and provides counseling to patients on follow-up monitoring and support. Counselors see patients at our Capitol Hill Campus, Olympia, and Tacoma locations.