In all hospitals, a team of specialists meets to discuss and decide on the best treatment for you. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) will include the following:
- An ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon – a specialist in treating conditions of the ear, nose, throat and neck. They may also be called an otolaryngologist.
- An oral and maxillofacial surgeon – a specialist who has trained both as a doctor and a dentist. They specialise in treating conditions affecting the mouth, jaw, face and neck. As well as operating to remove the cancer, they also rebuild tissue lost due to the cancer or surgery.
- A plastic and reconstructive surgeon – a surgeon skilled in rebuilding tissue in the head and neck.
- An oncologist – a doctor who specialises in cancer treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
- A radiologist – a doctor who analyses scans and x-rays.
- A pathologist – a doctor who advises on the type and extent of the cancer.
- A clinical nurse specialist – a nurse who gives support, practical advice and information about any aspect of your illness or treatment.
- A speech and language therapist – a therapist who specialises in helping with communication and swallowing problems.
- A dietitian – someone who advises you on how to make sure you get all the nutrients your body needs.
The team will often include a number of other healthcare professionals, such as a dentist, an oral hygienist, a restorative dentist (who specialises in making sure your teeth look and work as normally as possible), a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and a psychologist or counsellor.
One or more of the team will meet with you, and a relative or friend, to explain your treatment options and answer any questions you may have.