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, such as a gastroenterologist. The specialist will arrange further tests. If pancreatic 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. Pancreatic cancer is challenging to treat and it is recommended that you are treated in a specialist treatment centre.
Below is a list of the health professionals you may see:
|pancreatic or HPB (hepato-pancreato- biliary) surgeon||operates on the liver, pancreas and surrounding organs|
|gastroenterologist||diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive system, including pancreatic cancer and blocked bile ducts; may perform endoscopy|
|medical oncologist||treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy (systemic treatment)|
|radiation oncologist||treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy|
|endocrinologist||diagnoses and treats hormonal disorders, including diabetes|
|nuclear medicine specialist||coordinates the delivery of radioactive iodine treatment and nuclear scans|
|radiologist||analyses x-rays and scans; an interventional radiologist may also perform a biopsy under ultrasound or CT, and deliver some treatments|
|cancer care coordinator||coordinates your care, liaises with other members of the MDT 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|
|palliative care team||a team of specialist doctors, nurses and allied health workers who work closely with the GP and oncologist to help control symptoms and maintain quality of life|
|dietitian||recommends an eating plan to follow while you are in treatment and recovery; helps with managing weight changes and digestive/bowel problems|
|social worker||links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical and financial issues|
|psychologist, counsellor||help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment|
|physiotherapist, occupational therapist||assist with physical and practical problems, including restoring movement and mobility after treatment and recommending aids and equipment|
Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department, Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer and Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lynda Dunstone, Consumer; Kate Graham, Accredited Practising Dietitian – Upper GI Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Gina Hesselberg, Radiation Oncologist, St George Hospital Cancer Centre, NSW; Dr Marni Nenke, Endocrinologist and Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nicholas O’Rourke, Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian – Upper GI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gail Smith, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope
Your coping toolbox
Ways to cope with the challenges caused by cancer
Learn about pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), which are cancers that begin in the endocrine cells of the pancreas