Who might I meet?

A team of specialists will plan the chemotherapy treatment that is best for you. They are called your multidisciplinary team (MDT).

The people you are likely to meet during the course of your treatment include:

  • a cancer doctor (medical oncologist or a clinical oncologist)
  • a haematologist (expert doctor in blood or lymphatic cancers)
  • a radiologist
  • chemotherapy nurses and specialist nurse
  • an oncology pharmacist.

Your cancer doctor. is an expert in treating people with cancer. They will explain the treatment and the possible side effects and they will monitor you carefully throughout your treatment.

Specialist nurses will usually give your chemotherapy in a day unit or outpatient clinic. You  may also have a specialist nurse for your type of cancer. . You can contact them if if you need more information or support.

You may also see  a dietician, social worker or a  symptom control specialist epending on your needs. Some people may also see a counsellor and physiotherapist during their treatment.

Your MDT

In most hospitals, a team of specialists will meet to discuss and agree on the plan of treatment they feel is best for your situation. This team is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

Here, we’ve listed the people who are involved in planning and giving you your chemotherapy treatment.


Medical oncologist

A medical oncologist, sometimes called a cancer specialist, is a doctor who is an expert in treating people with cancer using chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs. Your cancer specialist will talk to you about what the treatment involves and the possible side effects. They will prescribe your chemotherapy and check your progress throughout your course of treatment.


Clinical oncologist

Clinical oncologists are doctors who specialise in treating people with cancer using radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other anti-cancer medicines.

You will see your cancer specialist at different times throughout your course of treatment. Before treatment they will explain what is involved, outline the possible side effects and ask you to give your consent to the treatment. During and after your course of chemotherapy your specialist will see you in order to check how the treatment is going. If you have any problems between these appointments, the nurses can arrange an extra appointment for you.


Nurses

Usually chemotherapy is given in a day unit or an outpatient clinic by specialist nurses who have expert knowledge about your type of cancer and are highly skilled in giving chemotherapy. They can also be a good source of support and information during your treatment.


Radiologist

A radiologist is a specialist in interpreting scans. They review your scans with your cancer specialist. This helps the specialist to plan your treatment.


Your key worker or contact person

Usually one of the nurses who look after you will be named as your key worker. This is the person to contact if you need more information or support. If you’re not sure who your key worker is, ask someone at your next appointment.


Oncology pharmacist

Oncology pharmacists are experts in chemotherapy and other cancer medicines. They work alongside your treatment team.


Others members of the MDT

Dietitian

A dietitian can give you advice if you have problems eating and drinking because of your chemotherapy treatment – for example, if you have a sore mouth.

Social worker

Social workers can give advice about any non-medical problems you have, including practical and financial help. For example, some people can claim travel expenses and others may be eligible for a grant from a charity. Social workers can also provide or arrange counselling and emotional support for you and your family. If necessary, they can refer you to local support services that can help you at home. You can ask to see a social worker if you think this would be helpful.

Symptom control team (Palliative care team)

Many hospitals have a symptom control team who give extra help and support to people with symptoms or side effects of treatment that are causing problems. There may be other staff, such as physiotherapists, who can help with any specific questions you may have.

Counsellors

Counsellors are available in some hospitals. If you feel that speaking to a counsellor would be helpful, ask the staff looking after you to arrange an appointment.

Physiotherapist

Some people may see a physiotherapist during their treatment. They can show you exercises to help prevent muscle and joint stiffness.

Back to Chemotherapy explained

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is usually given by injection or as tablets.

Your feelings

You may experience difficult feelings while having chemotherapy treatment. Talking these over can be helpful.

Where can you have chemotherapy?

You usually have chemotherapy in a chemotherapy day unit or clinic. If your treatment is more complex, you may need to stay in hospital.