Your radiotherapy team

A team of specialists are involved in planning and giving your radiotherapy. Here are some of the people you may meet.

Consultant clinical oncologist (cancer doctor)

A consultant clinical oncologist is a doctor who is an expert in using radiotherapy and chemotherapy 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 another appointment for you.

Therapeutic radiographers

Therapeutic radiographers are experts in radiotherapy and are specially trained in giving 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 therapeutic radiographer

Consultant radiographers are 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 the clinical oncologist before and during your course of radiotherapy.

Other specialist radiographers

You may see other radiographers who can give you expert advice and support during and after your treatment. For example, you might see a treatment review radiographer or an information and support radiographer.

Radiologist

A radiologist is a specialist doctor who will look at your scans with your consultant and help plan your treatment.

Physicist

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.

Nurses

Many cancer centres have specialist cancer nurses. They are sometimes called clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) or advanced nurse practitioners. 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.

Your key worker

Your key worker is the person to contact if you need more information or support. Usually, one radiographer or specialist nurse in your team is your key worker. If you were referred from another hospital, your key worker may be based there. If you are not sure who your key worker is, ask someone at your next appointment.

Other health professionals

Other types of health professionals may be involved in your care. Who you may meet depends on which type of cancer you have and what help you need. They may include:

  • a dietitian
  • a speech and language therapist
  • a physiotherapist
  • an occupational therapist
  • a symptom control team (palliative care team)
  • a social worker
  • a counsellor.

Kim, Macmillan cancer information nurse specialist

As a specially qualified nurse, Kim has the expertise to answer medical questions you have about cancer.

About our cancer information videos

Kim, Macmillan cancer information nurse specialist

As a specially qualified nurse, Kim has the expertise to answer medical questions you have about cancer.

About our cancer information videos

Back to Radiotherapy explained

What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. This treatment is used to cure some types of cancer or to relieve symptoms.

Before your radiotherapy

Before you start radiotherapy, your team will explain what your treatment involves and how it may affect you.

Masks for radiotherapy

During most types of radiotherapy to the brain, head or neck, you wear a mask to help you keep still.

After your radiotherapy

It can take time to recover from radiotherapy. Support is there if you have any problems.