Your health care team
Your GP will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out mesothelioma, you will usually be referred to a specialist, such as a respiratory physician or gastroenterologist. The specialist will arrange further tests.
If mesothelioma is diagnosed, the specialist will consider the 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 also visit the NSW Government website CanRefer.
Health professionals you may see
|GP||assists you with treatment decisions and works in partnership with your specialists in providing ongoing care|
|respiratory (thoracic) physician||diagnoses diseases of the lungs, including pleural mesothelioma, and recommends ways to treat any symptoms|
|gastroenterologist||diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive system, including peritoneal mesothelioma|
|radiologist||analyses x-rays and scans; an interventional radiologist may also perform a biopsy under ultrasound or CT, and deliver some treatments|
|pathologist||examines cells and tissue samples to work out the type and extent of mesothelioma|
|thoracic (respiratory) surgeon||conducts some biopsy procedures and performs surgery to prevent and treat symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, including radical surgery|
|surgical oncologist/ general surgeon||performs surgery to prevent and treat symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma|
|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|
|palliative care specialist||treats pain and other symptoms to maximise wellbeing and improve quality of life|
|palliative care team||work closely with the GP and other specialists to help control symptoms such as pain, breathlessness, nausea and anxiety, and maintain quality of life|
|nurse||administers drugs and provides care, support and information throughout treatment|
|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)|
|community nurse||visits you at home to provide medical care and treatment, assesses your needs for supportive care, and liaises with your GP and MDT as required|
|dietitian||helps with nutrition concerns and recommends changes to diet during treatment and recovery|
|physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, occupational therapist||assist with physical and practical problems, including restoring movement and mobility after treatment and recommending aids and equipment|
|social worker||links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical and financial issues|
|psychologist||helps you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment|
Podcast: Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
Dr Anthony Linton, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Dr Naveed Alam, Thoracic Surgeon, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Monash Medical Centre, VIC; Donatella Arnoldo, Consumer; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Melvin (Wee Loong) Chin, Medical Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases, WA; Prof Kwun Fong, Thoracic and Sleep Physician and Director, UQ Thoracic Research Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, and Professor of Medicine, The University of Queensland, QLD; Vicki Hamilton OAM, Consumer and CEO, Asbestos Council of Victoria/GARDS Inc., VIC; Dr Susan Harden, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Penny Jacomos, Social Worker, Asbestos Diseases Society of South Australia, SA; Prof Brian Le, Director, Parkville Integrated Palliative Care Service, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lung Cancer Support Nurses, Lung Foundation Australia; Jocelyn McLean, Mesothelioma Support Coordinator, Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, NSW; Prof David Morris, Peritonectomy Surgeon, St George Hospital and UNSW, NSW; Joanne Oates, Registered Occupational Therapist, Expert Witness in Dust Diseases, and Director, Evaluate, NSW; Chris Sheppard and Adam Barlow, RMB Lawyers.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.