Your health care team

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals offer a range of services to assist you, your family and carers. They can help you find your way through the health care system, from diagnosis through to treatment and recovery.

Below we describe the roles of the most common members of the treatment team. Not all of them will be in the hospital or treatment centre, and they may have different titles depending on where you have treatment.

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Who can help?

You may think that your specialist is the only member of your treatment team who can answer your questions and address your concerns. It’s your right to ask your specialist questions, but there is often limited time in a consultation, and you may want to use that time to talk about your treatment. Other members of your treatment team are often more available than your specialist, and they may be able to help more quickly with any questions and concerns you may have.

Advanced cancer issues

People living with advanced cancer may face other issues to those discussed here. To learn more about these issues, see:

You can also call 13 11 20 for more information.

The people on your health care team

Some of the health care professionals that can help you include:

General practitioner (GP) or family doctor

  • assists you with treatment decisions
  • refers you to specialists and can help arrange second opinions
  • works with your specialists in providing follow-up care after treatment
  • continues to see you for day-to-day health care issues
  • it is important to have a good relationship with a GP who knows you and your medical history
  • your GP’s role may vary depending on where you live – for example, rural patients may have much more to do with their GP than people in urban areas

Cancer specialist

  • may be a medical oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist or haematologist
  • depending on the type of cancer you have, you may need to see several specialists who will look after different aspects of your care
  • diagnoses the cancer and supervises your treatment, follow-up and overall care
  • can also answer any questions you have about your treatment
  • usually works as part of a multidisciplinary team  
  • if you are treated in hospital, junior medical staff such as registrars and resident medical officers, may be able to help you with questions and concerns

Cancer care coordinator

  • may be called a clinical nurse consultant or clinical nurse specialist
  • a senior specialist nurse who coordinates your care throughout diagnosis and treatment, and works closely with specialists and other members of the health care team
  • a reliable source of information and support
  • larger hospitals may have cancer care coordinators for specific cancer types, while smaller hospitals may have general coordinators
  • in rural areas, cancer care coordinators may attend with the visiting oncologist
  • in hospitals that don’t have either a cancer care coordinator or a clinical nurse consultant, the nursing unit manager may have a similar role

Social worker

  • the primary point of contact for practical issues, such as accommodation, transport, financial support, child care, and home nursing care
  • assesses what sort of support you need, and identifies ways you can receive this support
  • will link you with the people and services best able to meet your needs
  • may provide counselling and emotional support in some hospitals, may be called a welfare worker

Physical therapists

  • physiotherapists help you to move and exercise safely to regain strength, fitness and mobility
  • exercise physiologists prescribe exercise to help people with medical conditions improve their overall health, fitness, strength and energy levels
  • occupational therapists offer equipment/aids and advice about getting back to your daily activities

Other health professionals

  • psychologists or counsellors help you understand your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment, and come up with strategies for managing your concerns
  • dietitians may recommend an eating plan for you to follow during treatment and recovery to ensure you meet your nutritional needs; and give you tailored advice on coping with any eating problems you may experience
  • speech pathologists help you manage any communication and swallowing difficulties

Go to the cancer type that you may be affected by to learn more about the health professionals you may see.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on cancer care and your rights.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in June 2019
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
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Cancer information

What is cancer?
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Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

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