Your health care team

If your general practitioner (GP) or another doctor suspects that you have a brain or spinal cord tumour, they will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. You will then be referred to a neurosurgeon, neurologist or neuro-oncologist, who will examine you and may do more tests.

If a tumour is diagnosed, the specialist will consider your 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 a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.

Health professionals you may see

  • Neurosurgeon* – diagnoses and performs surgery for diseases and injuries of the brain and nervous system
  • Neurologist* – diagnoses and treats diseases of the brain and nervous system that do not need surgery
  • Neuro-oncologist* – diagnoses and treats tumours of the brain and nervous system; a neuro-oncologist may be a neurologist, medical oncologist or neurosurgeon
  • Cancer care coordinator – coordinates your care, liaises with other members of the MDT and is an ongoing contact for you and your family throughout treatment; may also be a called a clinical nurse consultant (CNC) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse – administers drugs and provides care, information and support throughout treatment
  • Medical oncologist* – treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy
  • Radiation oncologist* – treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy
  • Neuropathologist* – analyses tissue from brain or spinal cord tumours to identify the tumour type
  • Dietitian – recommends an eating plan for you to follow while you are in treatment and recovery
  • Social worker – links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical or financial issues
  • Neuropsychologist – assesses people with problems in thinking or behaviour caused by illness or injury (particularly to the brain) and manages their rehabilitation
  • Psychologist and psychiatrist* – help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment
  • Rehabilitation specialist* – recommends and oversees treatment to help you recover movement, mobility and speech after treatment and return to daily life
  • Physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist – assist with physical and practical problems, including restoring movement, mobility and speech after treatment, and recommending aids and equipment

* Specialist doctor

This information was last reviewed in April 2018
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