Your health care team
Often your general practitioner (GP) will 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.
The different roles
During and after treatment, you will see various health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care. The health professionals you may see include:
|haematologist||specialises in treating diseases of the blood and lymphatic system; prescribes chemotherapy, as well as targeted therapy and immunotherapy|
|radiation oncologist||prescribes and oversees the course of radiation therapy|
|cancer care coordinator||coordinates care, liaises with MDT and supports you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant (CNC)|
|haematology nurse||gives the course of treatment, and supports and assists you through all stages of your 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|
Dr Anoop Enjeti, Senior Staff Specialist Haematologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, The University of Newcastle; Ray Araullo, Deputy Head, Social Work Department, Royal North Shore Hospital; Shehaan Fernando, Consumer; Narelle Greentree, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hunter Haematology Unit, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Haematology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Westmead Hospital; Melanie Sexton, Consumer; Dr Jonathan Sillar, Haematology Registrar, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Fellow, The University of Newcastle.
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