Your health care team
Your general practitioner (GP) will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms, or further tests if you have had a positive screening test. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist, such as a colorectal surgeon or a gastroenterologist. The specialist will arrange further tests. If bowel cancer 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 may see a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.
|GP||assists with treatment decisions and works in partnership with your specialists in providing ongoing care|
|colorectal surgeon*||diagnoses bowel cancer and performs bowel surgery|
|gastroenterologist*||diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive system, including bowel cancer; may perform colonoscopy|
|medical oncologist*||treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy (systemic treatment)|
|radiation oncologist*||treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy|
|cancer care coordinator||coordinates your care, liaises with MDT members, and supports you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant (CNC) or colorectal cancer nurse|
|nurse||administers drugs and provides care, information and support throughout treatment|
|stomal therapy nurse||provides information about surgery and can help you adjust to life with a temporary or permanent stoma|
|dietitian||recommends an eating plan to follow during and after treatment|
|genetic counsellor||provides advice for people with a strong family history of bowel cancer or with a genetic condition linked to bowel cancer|
|social worker||links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical and financial issues|
|physiotherapist, exercise physiologist||help restore movement and mobility, and improve fitness and wellbeing|
|occupational therapist||assists in adapting your living and working environment to help you resume usual activities after treatment|
|counsellor, psychologist||help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment|
|palliative care specialist* and nurses||work closely with the GP and cancer specialists to help control symptoms and maintain quality of life|
A/Prof David A Clark, Colorectal Surgeon, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and The University of Queensland, QLD, and The University of Sydney, NSW; A/Prof Siddhartha Baxi, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare Gold Coast, QLD; Dr Hooi Ee, Specialist Gastroenterologist and Head, Department of Gastroenterology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Annie Harvey, Consumer; A/Prof Louise Nott, Medical Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Hobart, TAS; Caley Schnaid, Accredited Practising Dietitian, GenesisCare, St Leonards and Frenchs Forest, NSW; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Alina Stoita, Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Catherine Trevaskis, Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Richard Vallance, Consumer.
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