Your health care team
Your general practitioner (GP) will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist called a respiratory physician, who will arrange further tests.
If lung 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 will see a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.
To find cancer specialists, multidisciplinary teams and hospitals in NSW or ACT, you can visit the NSW Government website CanRefer.
|GP||assists you with treatment decisions and works in partnership with your specialists in providing ongoing care|
|respiratory physician*||diagnoses diseases of the lungs, including cancer, and recommends initial treatment options|
|thoracic surgeon*||diagnoses and performs surgery for cancer and other diseases of the lungs and chest (thorax)|
|radiation oncologist*||treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy|
|radiation therapist||plans and delivers radiation therapy|
|radiologist*, nuclear medicine specialist*||analyses x-rays and scans; an interventional radiologist may also perform a biopsy under ultrasound or CT, and deliver some treatments; a nuclear medicine specialist coordinates the delivery of nuclear scans such as PET–CT|
|medical oncologist*||treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy (also known as systemic treatments)|
|cancer care coordinator or lung cancer nurse coordinator||coordinates your care, liaises with other members of the MDT, refers you to allied health professionals, provides education and information, and supports you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant (CNC) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS)|
|nurse||administers drugs and provides care, information and support throughout treatment|
|counsellor, psychologist||help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment|
|dietitian||helps with nutrition concerns and recommends changes to diet during treatment and recovery|
|speech pathologist||helps with communication and swallowing after treatment|
|social worker||links you to support services and helps with emotional, practical and financial problems|
|physiotherapist, occupational therapist||assist with physical and practical problems, including improving fitness and breathing, restoring movement and mobility after treatment, and recommending aids and equipment|
|exercise physiologist||prescribes exercise to help people with medical conditions improve their overall health, fitness, strength and energy levels|
|palliative care specialist* and nurses||work closely with the GP and cancer team to help control symptoms and maintain your quality of life|
Podcast for people affected by cancer
A/Prof Brett Hughes, Senior Staff Specialist Medical Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Dr Brendan Dougherty, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Specialist, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Kim Greco, Nurse Consultant – Lung Cancer, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Dr Susan Harden, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Rohit Joshi, Medical Oncologist, GenesisCare and Lyell McEwin Hospital, Director, Cancer Research SA; Kathlene Robson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council ACT; Peter Spolc, Consumer; Nicole Taylor, Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Rosemary Taylor, Consumer; A/Prof Gavin M Wright, Director of Surgical Oncology, St Vincent’s Hospital and Research and Education Lead – Lung Cancer, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, VIC.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.