Your health care team
Your general practitioner (GP) will often arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will be referred to a specialist called a haematologist or to the emergency department of the nearest major hospital (as you may need immediate treatment). You will then have further tests.
If acute leukaemia is diagnosed, the specialist will consider treatment options. Often these will be discussed with other health professionals at what is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting. During and after treatment, you will see various health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.
Health professionals you may see
|haematologist*||diagnoses and treats diseases of the bone marrow, blood and lymphatic system; prescribes chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy|
|radiation oncologist*||treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy|
|cancer care coordinator||coordinates care, liaises with other members of the MDT and supports you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant or clinical nurse specialist|
|haematology nurse||gives the course of treatment; supports and assists you through all stages of treatment|
|clinical trials nurse||coordinates recruitment to clinical trials and acts as a link between you and the team if you join a clinical trial|
|pharmacist||dispenses medicines and gives advice about dosage and side effects|
|dietitian||recommends an eating plan to follow while you’re in treatment and recovery|
|social worker, clinical psychologist||help with any emotional problems and link you to support services|
|physiotherapist, occupational therapist||help with physical or practical problems associated with cancer and treatment|
|palliative care team||specialise in pain and symptom control to improve quality of life|
A/Prof John Moore (Conjoint UNSW), Senior Staff Specialist Haematology, Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Kinghorn Cancer Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital; Glynda Blomson, Consumer; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital; Sharon Frazer, Consumer; Prof Angela Hong, Radiation Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Haematology, Westmead Hospital.
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