Your radiotherapy team
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A consultant clinical oncologist is a doctor who is an expert in radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs used to treat people with different types of cancer. They specialise in planning and overseeing your course of treatment.
You may see a consultant clinical oncologist before, during and after your course of radiotherapy. Sometimes you may see a doctor from their team instead, such as a registrar. They are also very experienced in treating cancer.
If you have any problems between appointments and need to see the doctor, the radiographers or nurses will arrange an appointment for you.
Therapeutic radiographers are experts in radiotherapy and are specially trained to give you your treatment. They can also give you support, advice and information about your radiotherapy. They will:
- help plan your treatment
- help you get into the right position for treatment
- operate the radiotherapy machine to give you your treatment
- give you information, practical care and support throughout your treatment.
You will get to know a team of radiographers during your treatment. You can discuss any worries about your treatment with them.
Consultant radiographers are highly trained experts in treating specific types of cancer with radiotherapy. They specialise in planning and giving radiotherapy and providing support. You may see a consultant radiographer instead of a clinical oncologist before and during your course of radiotherapy.
A physicist is a radiation expert who helps plan your treatment. They work out the amount of radiation you need and the best way of giving it. They also check that the machines give the planned dose of radiation in the correct way.
A dosimetrist is an expert who helps to plan your treatment. They work closely with your doctor and physicist and use a computer to make sure the treatment is given to the right area and in the best way.
They also check treatment machines to make sure they are safe and accurate. Some dosimetrists help prepare radiotherapy masks and moulds, if you need one.
Many cancer centres have specialist cancer nurses. They are sometimes called a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or an advanced nurse practitioner. They have expert knowledge about the type of cancer you have.
Some radiotherapy clinics have nurses who give information about the treatment and its side effects. They may also give advice on skin care and medicines to manage side effects.
Other types of health professionals may be involved in your care. Who you may meet depends on what type of cancer you have and what help you need. They may include the following:
- Medical oncologist – a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs to treat people with cancer.
- Haematologist – a doctor who diagnoses and treats blood disorders and cancers.
- Dietitian – someone who gives information and advice about food and food supplements.
- Speech and language therapist (SLT) – someone who gives information and support to people who have problems talking and swallowing.
- Physiotherapist – someone who gives advice about exercise and mobility.
- Occupational therapist (OT) – someone who gives information, support and aids to help people with tasks such as washing and dressing.
- Palliative care nurse or doctor – someone who helps with symptom control.
- Social worker – someone who can help sort out practical and financial problems.
- Counsellor – someone who is trained to listen to people’s problems and help them find ways to cope.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our radiotherapy information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
The Royal College of Radiologists. Radiotherapy dose fractionation. 3rd Edition. 2019. Available from www.rcr.ac.uk/system/files/publication/field_publication_files/brfo193_radiotherapy_dose_fractionation_third-edition.pdf.
Society and College of Radiographers. Practice guideline document. Radiation dermatitis guidelines for radiotherapy healthcare professionals. 2nd Edition. 2020. Available from www.sor.org/getmedia/53bd52ff-679e-48de-82a0-dc8dae570896/2020_version_4_final_practice_guideline_radiotherapy_skin_care_llv1.pdf.
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr David Gilligan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.
Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.
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