When to see your primary care provider

Meeting your health care needs after a cancer diagnosis

To ensure quality care throughout your cancer journey, you need a team in place. The foundation of your team is your oncologist and your primary care provider (PCP).

Cancer care generally requires the technical knowledge and skills of specialty physicians, such as medical oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists.

Your PCP plays a central role during and after cancer therapy. An initial point of contact, your PCP will want to evaluate your symptoms, coordinate your care and work with you to make decisions regarding referrals.

Why you need your PCP

Cancer came at one point in your life, but what about the high blood pressure you’ve been dealing with since last year? Or the recurrence of pain from an injury in your 20s?

Your PCP is fundamental to your continuity of care, overseeing and caring for any infections, injuries, immune system problems, medications and lifestyle changes that may have nothing to do with cancer.

Patients who stop seeing their PCP for routine care may find they are cured of cancer only to overlook a preventable illness, from simple bacterial infections to life-threatening diseases.

Your cancer specialists

Willamette Valley Cancer Institute oncologists and other cancer-care providers on your team are here to ensure that you’re receiving the latest and greatest cancer treatment. These specialists will to work with your PCP to help you get the best overall care. That includes keeping your PCP up to date, so he or she can help you achieve optimal health.

The big picture

Over the long term, a provider who knows your health history, your habits and your personality can more easily recognize any signs that indicate a potential change in your health, so continue seeing your PCP for regular check-ups and any new problems or symptoms, as you did before you developed cancer.