Multidisciplinary team (MDT) for head and neck cancer

If you have a head or neck cancer, a multidisciplinary team (MDT) will look at many factors to help decide which treatments are likely to work best for you.

A team of specialists meet to talk about the best treatment for you. This team is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). The MDT for head and neck cancer may include 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 doctor who does operations (surgery) on the mouth, jaw, face and neck.
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgeon – a surgeon skilled in rebuilding tissue in the head and neck.
  • Oncologist – a doctor who treats people who have cancer, and specialises in cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
  • Radiologist – a doctor who looks at scans and x-rays to diagnose problems.
  • Pathologist – a doctor who looks at cells or body tissue under a microscope to diagnose cancer.
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) – a nurse who gives information about cancer, and support during treatment
  • Speech and language therapist (SLT) – a therapist who specialises in helping with communication and swallowing problems.
  • Dietitian – someone who gives information and advice about food and food supplements.

The MDT often includes other healthcare professionals, such as:

  • dentist – an expert in treating problems or conditions that affect the teeth and gums
  • oral hygienist – someone specially trained to clean your teeth and show you how to care for your teeth and gums to prevent gum disease
  • restorative dentist – a dentist who specialises in making sure your teeth look and work as normally as possible
  • physiotherapist – someone who gives advice about exercise and mobility, and can help with any neck and shoulder problems
  • occupational therapist (OT) – someone who gives information, support and aids to help people with tasks such as washing and dressing
  • psychologist or counsellor – someone who is trained to listen to people’s problems and gives advice about managing feelings and behaviours.

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.

Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

This means it is easy to use, up-to-date and based on the latest evidence. Learn more about how we produce our information.