This is a team of health professionals who work together to decide on the best treatment and care for you. It can include:
- specialist head and neck surgeons
- specialists in drug treatment
- specialists in radiotherapy
- restorative dental specialists
- a head and neck clinical nurse specialist
- speech and language therapists
Specialist head and neck surgeon
Head and neck surgeons may include:
- ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons
- oral and maxillofacial surgeons
- plastic surgeons
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.
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.
Radiotherapy and drug treatment specialist (oncologists)
They are specialist doctors and plan your treatment using:
- targeted cancer drugs
Restorative dental specialist
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.
Dietitians play an essential role in helping you with problems you may have with your diet and eating. You usually met them before your treatment and regularly throughout.
Speech and language therapist
You may meet a speech and language therapist. They usually visit you before your operation or radiotherapy. They explain possible problems you may have with speech and swallowing, and how to cope with them.
Other health professionals
You may also need help and support from other health specialists, for example,