Your health care team
Your GP will assess your symptoms and arrange the first tests to check your general health. You will usually be referred to a specialist such as a gastroenterologist or an upper gastrointestinal surgeon for an endoscopy and further tests.
If you are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, 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. The most common health professionals are listed below. You won’t necessarily see all these people.
|gastroenterologist*||diagnoses and treats some disorders of the digestive system; may perform endoscopies and insert feeding tubes|
|upper gastrointestinal surgeon*||diagnoses, treats and performs surgery for diseases of the upper digestive system (such as cancer); performs endoscopies and inserts feeding tubes|
|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; may be a clinical nurse consultant (CNC), nurse consultant or clinical nurse specialist (CNS)|
|nurse||administers drugs and provides care, information and support throughout treatment|
|dietitian||helps with nutrition concerns and recommends changes to diet during treatment and recovery|
|physiotherapist||helps with restoring movement and mobility, and preventing further injury|
|speech pathologist||evaluates and treats communication, voice and swallowing difficulties during and after treatment|
|social worker, psychologist||link you to support services and help with emotional and practical issues associated with cancer and treatment|
|palliative care team||work closely with the GP and cancer specialists to help control symptoms and maintain quality of life|
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Spiro Raftopoulos, Gastroenterologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Peter Blyth, Consumer; Jeff Bull, Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; Mick Daws, Consumer; Dr Steven Leibman, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Prof Michael Michael, Medical Oncologist, Lower and Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, and Co-Chair Neuroendocrine Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Royal Brisbane Hospital, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian: Upper Gastrointestinal, Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Letchemi Valautha, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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