The head and  neck cancer multidisciplinary team (MDT) decides on the best treatment for your cancer. Learn more in this video.

The head and neck cancer care team

After a diagnosis of cancer has been made, your doctor is likely to talk about your diagnosis with the cancer care team they work with. This is known as a head and neck cancer MDT (multidisciplinary team). You may be asked to attend an appointment where the MDT talks about how best to treat your cancer, and coordinate your treatment and care. This team includes experts who will review the diagnosis and tests performed, and considers all parts of your treatment and recovery. The purpose of the MDT is to decide on the best treatment for your cancer and to help you regain the best function possible in the long-term.

The roles of the head and neck cancer care team

Head & Neck surgeons are specialist doctors who remove cancers in the face, mouth, throat and neck. This includes surgeons with a background in otolaryngology (Ear Nose and Throat), general surgery, maxillofacial surgery, and reconstructive surgery. If surgery is required, the head and neck surgeon will carry out the procedure
Reconstructive surgeons are specialist doctors with expertise in reconstructing the head and neck. Some head and neck surgeons also do reconstructive surgery, depending on their training and experience
Radiation oncologists are specialist doctors trained in the use of carefully directed radiation to treat cancer
Radiation therapists are healthcare professionals who deliver the radiation treatment prescribed by the radiation oncologist
Medical oncologists are specialist doctors who are experts in the use of medicines like chemotherapy to treat cancer
Speech pathologists are healthcare professionals who work with people who have difficulties speaking or swallowing
Dietitian are healthcare professionals who give food and dietary advice
Dentist/oral medicine specialists are healthcare professionals who care for the mouth and teeth. Mouth care is very important in head and neck cancer, especially if radiation therapy is needed
Pathologists are specialist doctors who are experts in looking at cells under a microscope and determining if they are cancer
Radiation & Nuclear medicine specialists are specialist doctors who interpret scans such as CT, MRI and PET scans
Palliative care team are specialist doctors and nurses who have expertise in managing symptoms and improving quality of life, often in patients where the cancer can’t be cured
Nurses are healthcare professionals who are experts in the care of people with cancer, and work with all members of the cancer care team. Often, specialist cancer nurses are part of the MDT. They will help to plan and coordinate your care
Psychologists are healthcare professionals who assist people with worries about coping and living with cancer (mental health)
Social workers are healthcare professionals who provide practical and emotional support to people living with cancer
  1. Head and Neck Cancer Australia Resources 
  2. External Links to other Head and Neck Cancer Resources