Head and neck multidisciplinary team (MDT)

Multidisciplinary team (MDT) care is a key feature of Associate Professor Ch’ng’s approach to management of head and neck cancer. MDT care is where professionals from a range of disciplines function as a team to deliver comprehensive care that addresses your individual needs. There are many options for treating head and neck cancer – surgery, radiotherapy and drugs – and most people with head and neck cancer receive more than one type of treatment.

The Head & Neck MDT includes expert healthcare professionals who have knowledge and training in specific areas of head and neck cancer management. It includes surgeons, radiation oncologists (doctors who specialise in treating cancer with radiotherapy), medical oncologists (doctors who specialise in treating cancer with chemotherapy), pathologists (doctors who specialise in looking at cells under a microscope and diagnosing the cell type), radiologists (doctors who specialise in reading scans and Xrays), speech pathologists, dietitians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and nurse specialists. Dr Ch’ng is part of an MDT that meets weekly to discuss the results of your tests and to plan your treatment. They will look at a number of things, including:

  • the type and size of the cancer, and whether it has spread
  • your general health
  • national treatment guidelines for your particular cancer
  • your preferences, family and social situation.

You may be given a choice of treatment options, which Dr Ch’ng will discuss with you.

Being managed by an MDT means that you are more likely to:

  • receive accurate diagnosis and staging
  • be offered a choice of treatments decided by a group of experts, rather than by one doctor
  • receive better coordination and continuity of care through all stages of the cancer
  • be treated in line with locally agreed policies and national guidelines
  • be offered appropriate and consistent information

Research has shown that an MDT approach to cancer care improves patient outcomes.