The cancer care team: Pharmacist

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A pharmacist is part of your health-care team, either at the hospital or in a pharmacy. Learn what a pharmacist is and how they can help you.

Key points

  • A pharmacist is an expert on how medications work, potential side effects of medications and medication safety.
  • The pharmacist will dispense your medication either at the pharmacy or in a health-care setting, such as a hospital.
  • If you have questions about your medications, you can ask the pharmacist.

What is a pharmacist?

A pharmacist is an expert on medications. They work in community pharmacies (such as drug stores where you go to fill prescriptions), as well as health-care settings including hospitals. They are specially trained to understand:

  • how medications work to fight disease
  • potential side effects and how to manage them
  • which medications can be taken together safely and which combinations should be avoided
  • how to use and store medications safely

An important part of a pharmacist’s job is to share their expert knowledge with the health-care team, patients and families.

What can a pharmacist do for me?

A pharmacist will dispense (provide) your medication at your community pharmacy. They also dispense all of the medications you take in the hospital and check to make sure that each is appropriate and safe for you.

Your cancer treatment team will include a pharmacist who specializes in cancer medications. If you or your family have any questions about your medications, their associated side effects or how they might affect your health in the future, talk to a pharmacist. You can ask your doctor or nurse to arrange a meeting with your pharmacist. They know a lot about medications and are really good at sharing their knowledge in a way that patients and families can understand.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019