The medical/nursing team

In the NHS, everyone diagnosed with bowel cancer is treated by the colorectal team - a team of expert doctors, nurses and therapists who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and management of people with bowel cancer. Your colorectal specialist nurse and your surgeon will discuss your case with this multi-disciplinary team (MDT), sharing expertise to plan and agree a treatment plan specific to your individual needs.

  • Each of the members of the MDT has a different role, providing surgical, medical, practical or emotional help and support.  
  • Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialists have specialist qualifications to manage and care for patients with colorectal cancer.
  • Colorectal Surgeons are doctors who have specialised in colorectal surgery and perform operations and other surgical procedures (including biopsies) to diagnose and treat bowel cancer.
  • Consultant Clinical Oncologists are doctors who are skilled in non-surgical forms of cancer treatment, and specialise in radiotherapy treatment.
  • Consultant Medical Oncologists are doctors who have specialised in the assessment and management of patients with cancer, chemotherapy and other forms of drug treatment.
  • Counsellors help people to deal with emotional issues and problems.
  • Diagnostic Radiologists are doctors who specialise in interpreting images of the body, such as X-rays and ultrasound scans.
  • Diagnostic Radiographers are specifically trained to use equipment, including X-ray or ultrasound, to assist the medical team to diagnose patients.
  • Dieticians are experts in food and nutrition and can advise patients on how to deal with some of the dietary effects of cancer and treatment.
  • Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the digestive system.
  • Histopathologists study tissue samples ranging from tiny biopsies (eg from the bowel during a colonoscopy) to organs to be removed during an operation (eg a section of bowel containing cancer) and give the results to your consultant.
  • Occupational Therapists help people find ways of coping and adapting following an illness and are able to offer practical and psychological support to people to maintain their independence.
  • Palliative Care Consultants are doctors who specialise in the management and control of symptoms, rather than working towards a cure.
  • Pharmacists advise and support your team with chemotherapy treatments, as well as dispensing prescriptions. They can also give advice of taking medications and possible side-effects.
  • Physiotherapists help patients regain strength and mobility after treatment.
  • Psychologists/psychiatrists are doctors who help people cope with emotional and personal matters following their diagnosis.
  • Radiologists are doctors who determine the precise location and extent of a cancer in the body, using scans from machines such as X-rays, CAT and MRI scanners.
  • Research Nurses have a specialist interest in undertaking research and participation in clinical trials.
  • Stoma Nurse Specialists are an accessible source of information and provide practical guidance on stomas, as well valuable emotional support.
  • Therapeutic Radiographers plan and deliver radiotherapy treatment and provide medical and emotional support during the treatment.

Last reviewed 13/2/2013

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