Multidisciplinary Care Team (MDT)

You will be cared for by a range of health professionals, known as a Multidisciplinary Care Team (MDT). Each focuses on a different part of your treatment. Working with you, the team will develop a treatment plan that offers you the best care. You may have different types of doctors on your Multidisciplinary Care Team, depending on the stage of your cancer and your treatment options.

Your Multidisciplinary Care Team is likely to include:

  • a respiratory physician—a doctor who focuses on diseases of the lungs and respiratory tract. They help to diagnose and stage cancer and improve breathing.
  • a cardiothoracic (chest) surgeon—does some diagnostic tests and does any surgery to remove cancer from the lung.
  • a pathologist—analyses samples of body tissue or fluids to help with diagnosing and staging lung cancer.
  • a medical oncologist—a doctor who specialises in cancer treatment using medications (drugs). They are responsible for prescribing any chemotherapy and other treatment options such as targeted therapies.
  • a radiation oncologist—a doctor specialising in cancer treatment who arranges, prescribes, plans and supervises any course of radiation treatment.
  • a radiologist—uses diagnostic imaging methods to see inside the body (for example, CT scans).
  • cancer nurses and care coordinators—give nursing care and information to support you throughout your treatment.
  • palliative care doctors and nurses—work closely with your GP and cancer doctors to provide supportive and palliative care so you can cope better with the effects of cancer at home and in hospital.
  • a physiotherapist—helps treat your body so you can cope with the physical effects caused by lung cancer, surgery and treatment side effects.
  • an occupational therapist—helps you with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing and cooking.
  • a social worker—provides support and information about emotional and practical problems such as employment issues, money problems, home help and childcare.
  • a pharmacist—gives advice on medication.
  • a dietitan—gives advice on nutrition.
  • GP—responsible for your general health and referral for specialist treatment.

As well as the Multidisciplinary Care Team, hospitals also have pastoral care/spiritual care workers and whānau and Pacific health care workers who are available on request to talk to you throughout your treatment.

If you are a smoker, you can increase your chances of responding to treatment if you stop; however, as smoking is an addiction you are more likely to succeed with help. You can ask for support from any member of your Multidisciplinary Care Team. They will put you in contact with a quit smoking service in your local area.

Key points: Multidisciplinary Care Team

Correctly diagnosing lung cancer and choosing the best treatment plan can be a long process and needs a team of health professionals working together. They're your Multidisciplinary Care Team.

Your Multidisciplinary Care Team may include:

  • a respiratory physician
  • a cardiothoracic (chest) surgeon
  • a pathologist
  • a medical oncologist
  • a radiation oncologist
  • a radiologist
  • cancer nurses and care coordinators
  • palliative care doctors and nurses
  • a physiotherapist
  • an occupational therapist
  • a pharmacist
  • a social worker
  • a dietitian
  • a General Practitioner (GP)
  • a pastoral/spiritual advisor or whānau and Pacific health care may also be available.

You will also be able to get help to quit smoking if you are a smoker. (Quitting smoking improves your outlook.)