Who treats nasopharyngeal cancer? | Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Who treats nasopharyngeal cancer?

Men and women discussing nasopharyngeal cancer

This page is about the team of health professionals who treat nasopharyngeal cancer. You can find the following information

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Being cared for by a multi disciplinary team

NHS guidelines emphasise that all head and neck cancer patients should be under the care of a multi disciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of health professionals who work together to decide on the best way forward for each patient. The MDT includes 

If you are concerned that a multi disciplinary team is not looking after you, do ask about it. It may be that you have only seen one specialist, but the MDT team have still got together with your test results and case notes to discuss the best treatment options for you.
 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the treating nasopharyngeal cancer section.

 

 

Being cared for by a multi disciplinary team (MDT)

NHS guidelines emphasise that all head and neck cancer patients should be under the care of a multi disciplinary team. This is a team of health professionals who work together to decide on the best way forward for each patient. The MDT includes

If you are concerned that a multi disciplinary team is not looking after you, do ask about it. It may be that you have only seen one specialist, but the MDT team have still got together with your test results and case notes to discuss the best treatment options for you.

 

Who will be involved in treating your cancer

You may need to see a variety of doctors and other health professionals who specialise in different aspects of treatment, for example 

Because these types of cancers can spread to the eyes and inside the skull you may also see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist).

Cancer specialist (oncologist)

An oncologist is a doctor who specialises in treating cancer. This is most often with radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, but not surgery.

Head and neck surgeons

There are several different types of specialist surgeons you may see

ENT doctors are specialists trained in treating conditions of the ear, nose, throat and neck. They are always qualified surgeons and are also known as otolaryngologists.

Oral surgeons are also called maxillofacial surgeons. They are highly qualified, needing to be trained both as doctors and dentists. They specialise in the surgical treatment of a wide variety of conditions affecting the mouth, jaw, face and neck, including reconstructive surgery.

Plastic surgery means the moulding of the surface, and sometimes the deep structures of the human body. It can include reconstruction of an area where a cancer has been removed. Plastic surgery is common after surgery to remove a cancer of the head or neck.

Neurosurgeons are surgeons who specialise in surgery to the brain and nervous system.

Restorative dentist

A restorative dentist is a specialist in replacing lost teeth and tissues. They are also called prosthodontists. They will assess your teeth before you have treatment. They may recommend that you have some teeth removed. For example, if they are decaying or loose, so that they don't cause problems later on. The restorative dentist will also advise you on how to look after your mouth and teeth during and after your treatment. You may need to visit a dental hygienist for more help. It is important to keep your teeth and mouth clean to reduce the risk of infection.

The dentist will help to plan your recovery with your surgeon, so that you can speak and eat as well as possible afterwards. They may suggest using special false teeth, dental implants, or a replacement part (prosthesis) for missing teeth or any structure in the mouth. A prosthesis will also help to make your facial appearance as normal as possible after major surgery.

Head and neck cancer clinical nurse specialist

A qualified nurse who has specialist knowledge of cancers of the head and neck is called a head and neck cancer clinical nurse specialist (CNS). One of their main roles is to help organise care between doctors and the other health professionals you need to see. They will also help to support you through your treatment and make sure you have the information you need to understand your cancer and treatment.

Other health professionals

You may also need help and support from other health specialists, for example, a dietician or speech therapist. There may be a social worker or benefits advisor attached to your cancer unit who can advise you on benefits and grants you may qualify for.

Rate this page:
Submit rating
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 21 August 2014