If you have been diagnosed with cancer, a team of health professionals will work together to plan the treatment they feel is best for you. This team is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT).
If you have a gynaecological cancer, you should be treated by a specialist gynaecological cancer MDT. Gynaecological cancers include:
- Ovarian cancer
- Germ cell ovarian cancer
- Fallopian tube cancer
- Primary peritoneal cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Womb cancer
- Vulval cancer
- Vaginal cancer.
These teams are based in larger cancer centres, so you may have to travel for your treatment. They will meet to discuss and decide the best treatment for you. They will consider your own wishes too.
Your MDT may include:
- a gynaecological oncologist – a surgeon who specialises in gynaecological cancers
- oncologists – doctors who specialise in cancer treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs
- a gynae-oncology nurse specialist – a nurse who will be your main contact and will make sure you get help and support throughout your treatment
- a plastic surgeon – a doctor who specialises in reconstructive surgery if you have vulval cancer
- a radiologist – a doctor who analyses x-rays and scans
- a pathologist – a doctor who examines cancer cells under a microscope and advises on the type and extent of the cancer.
It may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, radiographer, psychologist or counsellor.
After the team has met, your specialist will discuss your treatment options with you. You can ask questions about anything you do not understand or are worried about. You should also be given a telephone number for your specialist nurse or key worker who you can contact if you have any questions when you get home.
Your multidisciplinary team (MDT) uses national treatment guidelines to decide the most suitable treatment for you. Even so, you may want another medical opinion. If you feel it will be helpful, you can ask either your specialist or GP to refer you to another specialist for a second opinion.
Getting a second opinion may delay the start of your treatment, so you and your doctor need to be confident that it will give you useful information. If you do go for a second opinion, it may be a good idea to take a relative or friend with you, and have a list of questions ready, so that you can make sure your concerns are covered during the discussion.