Who is involved in your care?

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There are a number of medical specialists who you may meet, and may be involved in your care as part of your diagnosis or treatment for melanoma.

This team is sometimes referred to as a MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) or SSMDT (Specialist Skin Cancer Multidisciplinary Team). They meet up to help plan your care. The different professionals that may make up the team are shown below.

Dermatologist – A medical expert who specialises in preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases and concerns of the skin, hair and nails

Radiologist – A specialist doctor who interprets scans and X-Rays

Pathologist – A pathologist helps to diagnose disease based on the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids such as blood,
urine and tissues. If you have a biopsy, a pathologist is the person who looks at the biopsy to help work
out what type of melanoma you have.

Nurse caring for a patient

Surgeon A surgeon is a person who performs surgery. Surgery is the main treatment for early stage melanoma. You might have surgery to:

  • remove an early stage melanoma
  • remove the lymph nodes close to the melanoma if the cancer has spread there
  • remove melanoma that has come back in the same place following an operation
  • remove melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body

A plastic surgeon specialises in skin reconstruction to reduce scarring or disfigurement.

Anaesthetist – A specialist doctor who administers anaesthetic before surgical procedures 

Oncologist – A specialist doctor who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. An oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists.

Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) – keyworker – A CNS is a nurse that has advanced training for specialist areas (skin cancer). The responsibilities of a CNS may include:

  • Giving a physical examination
  • Giving chemotherapy and other medications
  • Identifying patient needs
  • Coordinating care with the other members of the oncology team
  • Educating and counselling patients and families

Support worker/Patient navigator – A healthcare worker experienced in supporting people with a cancer diagnosis. They can give practical and emotional support, and information to help patients with lifestyle changes

Lymphoedema specialist – These are specialists (often nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists) who provide support and advice to help melanoma patients manage lymphoedema. Lymphoedema is a swelling in the limbs that can be caused by some cancer treatments (e.g complete lymph node dissection)

Oncology pharmacist – a pharmacist who is an expert in treatments used to treat cancer as well as medicines to manage any side-effects