Your health care team

If you have pleural mesothelioma, you will be cared for by a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your treatment. This is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) and may include some or all of the health professionals.

Some people are diagnosed and treated in specialist centres in major cities around Australia. To find out if there is a specialist unit near you, ask your doctor or call Cancer Council 13 11 20. If you live in a rural or regional area, or find it difficult to travel far, your GP can provide care and discuss further options with an MDT from a specialist centre.

Different roles

  • general practitioner (GP) – assists with treatment decisions and works with your specialist to provide ongoing care
  • respiratory physician – specialises in diseases of the lungs; may investigate symptoms of pleural mesothelioma and suggest initial treatments
  • radiologist – specialises in reading chest x-rays, CT scans and other scans
  • interventional radiologist – may drain fluid and remove tissue for diagnosis using CT scans as a guide
  • pathologist – examines cells and tissue under the microscope to determine the type and extent of mesothelioma
  • thoracic 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 – prescribes and coordinates drug therapies such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy
  • radiation oncologist – prescribes and coordinates the course of radiation therapy
  • palliative or supportive medical specialist – manages pain and other symptoms to improve quality of life and wellbeing; usually works as part of a palliative care team
  • palliative care team (doctors, nurses and other health professionals) – assist with control of symptoms such as pain, breathlessness, nausea and anxiety, as well as offering emotional and spiritual support
  • nurses and nurse care coordinator – administer drugs and provide care, support and information throughout treatment
  • community nurses – visit you at home to supervise treatment, assess needs, and liaise with your GP or MDT
  • dietitian – recommends an eating plan to follow during and after treatment
  • physiotherapist, occupational therapist – help with maintaining and restoring strength and mobility during and after your treatment and may recommend equipment
  • social worker – provides counselling and support, links to services and helps with practical issues
  • psychologist – provides emotional support and strategies to help deal with the impact of the disease

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This information was last reviewed in May 2017
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