What does a clinical oncologist do?

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A clinical oncologist is a doctor who is expertly trained in prescribing both radiotherapy and systemic therapies such as chemotherapy.

How do clinical oncologists fit in with other members of the cancer care team?

Together with a patient’s GP, a clinical oncologist is often the key medical contact for a cancer patient, as these consultants can be involved in managing and overseeing treatment from beginning to end. 

Cancer treatment is extremely varied and complex depending on each patient’s circumstances, so clinical oncologists work with a multidisciplinary team of other doctors and clinical staff to diagnose, treat and support patients. 

Members of the cancer care team include a variety of other doctors such as:

  • medical oncologists - specialists in cancer drugs
  • pathologists - experts in examining tissue and cells
  • haematologists - who concentrate on blood and bone diseases
  • radiologists - expert doctors who read scans

These specialist doctors are supported by a broad team of other clinicians, including therapeutic radiographers who plan and deliver radiotherapy, chemotherapy nurses who administer chemotherapy drugs and specialist nurses trained in specially supporting patients with different types of cancer.