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The multidisciplinary team (MDT)

This is a team of health professionals who work together to decide on which is the best treatment and care for you. It can include: 

  • specialist head and neck surgeons
  • medical oncologists
  • clinical oncologists
  • restorative dentistry consultants
  • a head and neck clinical nurse specialist
  • other health professionals

Specialist head and neck surgeon

Head and neck surgeons may include: 

  • ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons
  • oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • plastic surgeons

ENT surgeon 

These are qualified specialist surgeons trained in treating conditions of the ear, nose, throat and neck. They can also be called otolaryngologists. 

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons 

They are doctors trained both as doctors and dentists. These surgeons remove the cancer and also rebuild the tissue lost due to the cancer or surgery. 

Plastic surgeons

Sometimes a plastic surgeon may rebuild the area where the cancer was removed. This is called reconstruction. Plastic surgery is common after surgery to remove a cancer of the head and neck.

Medical and clinical oncologists

They are specialist doctors and plan your treatment using:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy 
  • targeted cancer drugs 

Restorative dentistry consultant

A restorative dentist is a specialist in replacing lost tissues and teeth.

They assess your teeth before you have treatment. And may recommend that you have some teeth removed if they are decaying or loose. This is so they don't cause problems later on. 

The restorative dentist also gives you advice on how to look after your mouth and teeth during and after treatment. You may also see a dental hygienist to help keep your mouth and teeth clean. And reduce the risk of infection.

The restorative dentist will also help your recovery. They may suggest using false teeth or a replacement part (prosthesis). They can help to make your facial appearance as normal as possible after treatment.   

Head and neck clinical nurse specialist

A clinical nurse specialist is a qualified nurse who has knowledge of head and neck cancers. They help to organise the care between doctors and other health professionals. They support you during and after treatment and make sure you have the information you need to understand the treatment. 

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is often your key worker. 

Other health professionals

You may also need help and support from other health specialists such as dietitian or speech therapist. There is also a social worker who can advise you about benefits you may qualify for. 

Last reviewed: 
08 Jun 2018
  • Head and Neck Cancer: Multidisciplinary Management Guidelines 4th edition

    British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, 2011

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