Multidisciplinary team (MDT) for head and neck cancer

A team of health professionals will work with you to plan the treatment that is best for your situation.

A team of specialists meets to discuss and decide on the best treatment for you. This team is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). It includes the following healthcare professionals:

  • 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.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon – a specialist who has trained as a doctor and a dentist. They specialise in treating conditions affecting the mouth, jaw, face and neck. As well as doing surgery to remove the cancer, they rebuild any tissue that might be lost because of the cancer or surgery.
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgeon – a surgeon skilled in rebuilding tissue in the head and neck.
  • Oncologist – a doctor who specialises in cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
  • Radiologist – a doctor who specialises in reading scans and x-rays.
  • Pathologist – a doctor who specialises in looking at cells under a microscope and diagnosing the cell type.
  • Clinical nurse specialist – a nurse who gives support and information about any aspect of the cancer and its treatment.
  • Speech and language therapist (SLT) – a therapist who specialises in helping with communication and swallowing problems.
  • Dietitian – someone who advises you on how to get all the nutrients your body needs.

The MDT often includes a number of other healthcare professionals, such as a:

  • dentist
  • oral hygienist
  • restorative dentist who specialises in making sure your teeth look and work as normally as possible
  • physiotherapist who can help if you have problems moving around or with any neck and shoulder problems
  • occupational therapist who makes sure you are safe and comfortable at home, for example, they can suggest and arrange minor changes to your home
  • psychologist or counsellor who can help you cope with emotional difficulties.

One or more of the team meets with you to explain your treatment options and answer any questions you may have. You can bring a relative or friend with you to this appointment.