You may have a number of tests at hospital to help the doctors make a diagnosis. In most hospitals, once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, a team of specialists will work together to plan the treatment they feel is best for your situation. This team of specialists is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT). Depending on what type of cancer you have, it usually includes a:
- medical oncologist (a doctor who specialises in treating cancer with chemotherapy)
- clinical oncologist (a doctor who specialises in treating cancer with radiotherapy and chemotherapy)
- 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)
- paediatric oncologist (a doctor who specialises in treating children with cancer) if appropriate
- nurse specialist (a nurse who gives you information and support during treatment).
Before your cancer treatment can be planned, one of the specialists will see you and arrange for you to have various tests. This is to find out the type and size of the cancer and whether it has begun to spread. The MDT will then meet together to discuss the results and plan your treatment, taking into account a number of factors:
- the type and size of the cancer and whether it has spread
- your general health
- national treatment guidelines for your particular cancer - you can find out more about these from your specialist.
Once your MDT has decided the most suitable treatment options available to you, your specialist will discuss the recommended treatment with you. They should always take your own wishes into consideration as well. Usually this discussion will happen during an outpatient appointment.
If you have a choice of treatments, they will give you time to make a decision about which treatment you wish to have. It’s important that, before your treatment, you feel able to ask any questions and understand the answers given.