Your health care team

After a diagnosis of cancer, you will usually be cared for by a range of health professionals who specialise in different areas of your treatment. This is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

For external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy, the main specialist doctor will be a radiation oncologist. You may be referred to a radiation oncologist by your GP or by another specialist such as a surgeon or medical oncologist.

The different roles

  • Radiation oncologist — assesses you for radiation therapy, prescribes and coordinates the course of radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapist — plans and delivers radiation therapy.
  • Radiation oncology nurses — help you manage emotional and physical problems, including side effects that you may experience during treatment.
  • Radiation oncology medical physicist — ensures radiation therapy is delivered accurately and safely by checking radiation treatment plan and ensuring radiation therapy machines are running correctly.
  • Dietitian — recommends an eating plan to follow while you are in treatment and recovery.
  • Speech pathologist — helps with communication and swallowing.
  • Social worker — links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical or financial issues.
  • Psychologist — uses counselling to help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment.
  • Physiotherapist — helps you with any physical or practical issues associated with cancer and treatment.
  • Occupational therapist — assists in adapting your living and working environment to help you resume usual activities.
  • Lymphoedema practitioner/therapist — educates people about lymphoedema prevention and management, and provides treatment if lymphoedema occurs.

This information was last reviewed in December 2017
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