medical team

If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer you will probably see a number of different health professionals at different points in your care. They will help diagnose and treat your prostate cancer and help you with the physical and emotional side effects. Who you see will depend on the treatment you are having and how they do things at your hospital – as each hospital does things differently.

What is my GP's role?

Your GP will refer you to the hospital and hand over your care to the team there. But your GP will be updated with your test results and treatment. And you may continue to see your GP regularly for prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests if you go on active surveillance or watchful waiting. Or for hormone injections if you have hormone therapy. You should also continue to see your GP about any other health problems, and speak to them about any concerns.

If you have side effects from treatment, your GP can treat these or refer you to a specialist to help. You will need regular follow-ups to check how well your treatment has worked and that your cancer hasn’t come back. Depending on your situation and the services in your area, you may have these with your GP. If there are signs your cancer may come back, your GP can refer you to the hospital.

What is a multi-disciplinary team (MDT)?

The multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is the group of health professionals at the hospital involved in your care. Members of your MDT will do tests to confirm you have prostate cancer and talk you through your treatment options and any relevant clinical trials. They will then treat your prostate cancer and check how well your treatment has worked at follow up appointments.

You may not meet everyone in your MDT and you may only meet some members when you start treatment. But everyone in your MDT will meet regularly to make sure they all know how you’re doing. They will also meet with any other doctors you see who are not part of the MDT.

Who is in my multi-disciplinary team?

Each hospital does things differently but your MDT will probably include some or all of the following people:

  • a specialist nurse
  • a urologist
  • an oncologist
  • a radiologist
  • a diagnostic radiographer
  • a therapeutic radiographer
  • a pathologist.

Some MDTs may be larger than this and include doctors such as counsellors.

Specialist nurse

Most MDTs will include a specialist nurse or clinical nurse specialist (CNS). They specialise in caring for men with prostate cancer and are usually the member of the MDT you’ll have most contact with. They’ll support you, answer questions and – in some hospitals – do biopsies and help with treatment. You can also talk to our Specialist Nurses, in confidence, about any questions or concerns you have.


A urologist is a surgeon who specialises in treating problems with the urinary and reproductive systems, which includes the prostate. They can carry out biopsies to help diagnose your prostate cancer, and do the following treatments:


An oncologist specialises in treating cancer using treatments other than surgery, including:


A radiologist specialises in understanding medical scans and images, such as MRI, to diagnose prostate cancer. They will look at the scans and images taken by the diagnostic radiographer and explain these to the rest of your MDT. They can sometimes help deliver brachytherapy.

Diagnostic radiographer

A diagnostic radiographer specialises in taking images of the body. They will do any scans you need during your diagnosis and care and send these to your radiologist. These may include X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, CT (computerised tomography) scans and bone scans.

Therapeutic radiographer

Also called radiotherapy radiographers. They specialise in giving radiotherapy to treat cancer. They may work with the oncologist to give external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy. Some radiographers may also give you check ups to see if your treatment works and check up on your side effects.


A pathologist specialises in looking at cells under a microscope. They will look at your biopsy samples to see if there are cancer cells present and grade these using the Gleason grade. You won’t meet the pathologist, but they will explain your biopsy results to the rest of your MDT.

What is a key worker?

Your key worker is the person in your MDT who is in charge of co-ordinating your care – this is usually the specialist nurse. They are your main contact and will talk to you about your views and make sure the rest of the MDT understand these. They can direct you to information and support, answer your questions or guide you to the right person if you want to talk about specific treatments.

Who else might be involved in my care?

Although your MDT will oversee your care, you may see other health professionals too. You may not see all of the following – it will depend on your needs and the health services in your area.

  • Anaesthetist  

    For treatments such as surgery or brachytherapy, you will need to have an anaesthetic so you can’t feel anything during treatment. The anaesthetist will explain what’s involved before giving you the anaesthetic.

  • District nurse/community nurse  

    Also called community nurses. District nurses visit people at home, GP surgeries or residential homes. If you have a catheter after treatment they may visit you at home to help you care for it.


  • Practice nurse  

    Practice nurses work in GP surgeries. They may take blood samples for the PSA test or give you hormone therapy injections. You can also talk to your nurse if you have any concerns about your treatment, or any side effects you are experiencing.

  • Hospital/ community pharmacist  

    Pharmacists provide advice on medicines. They can offer advice on taking your medicine at the right time once you go home and tell you what side effects to look for.

  • Continence advisor  

    Continence advisors are specialist nurses or physiotherapists who provide help with urinary and bowel problems. They can carry out tests and suggest treatments and lifestyle changes to help manage these problems. If you have urinary or bowel problems after having surgery, radiotherapy, cryotherapy or HIFU, your MDT or GP may refer you to a continence advisor as part of the NHS continence service. The NHS continence service can also provide free incontinence products.

  • Specialist physiotherapist  

    Specialist physiotherapists advise on exercises to help improve mobility and fitness. They can help you learn pelvic floor muscle exercises to help with urinary or erection problems after treatment. Or help you to manage any side effects from treatment that affect your mobility or fitness, for example strength and muscle loss caused by hormone therapy. Your GP or MDT can refer you to one.

  • Counsellor or clinical psychologist  

    Counsellors or clinical psychologists can help you deal with the emotional side effects of prostate cancer. They are trained to listen and can help you find your own way to deal with things. Your GP can refer you to a counsellor or you can see a private counsellor. Some hospitals may have specialist oncology counsellors or clinical psychologists for people with cancer. Ask your key worker if this is available. Find out more from the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.

  • Relationship counsellor  

    Dealing with your diagnosis and treatment can be difficult for you and those close to you. Seeing a relationship counsellor can help. The organisation Relate has more information about relationship counselling or you can use NHS choices to search for counselling services in your area.

  • Sex therapist  

    Some treatments can cause erection problems that can affect your sex life. Sex therapists can offer advice about sexual issues and treatments for erection problems.

  • Dietitian  

    Maintaining a healthy diet during and after treatment is important. Dietitians provide advice on healthy eating, which can help you manage some of the side effects of treatment. For example, managing weight gain caused by hormone therapy or loss of appetite caused by chemotherapy. Ask your key worker to refer you to a dietitian.

  • Bowel specialist  

    If you get bowel problems after having radiotherapy your GP may refer you to a bowel specialist. They are experts in bowel problems and can carry out tests and recommend life style changes, medicines or treatments that can help.

  • Palliative care team  

    Palliative care teams provide treatment to manage pain and other symptoms of advanced cancer and offer emotional and spiritual support. Your MDT or GP can refer you to a team of specialist palliative care nurses and doctors. They work in hospitals and hospices but can also visit you at home.

  • Occupational therapist  

    Occupational therapists provide advice and access to equipment to help with daily life, such as bathing or using the stairs. Your GP or local social services department can arrange for an occupational therapist to visit you if you are finding day-to-day activities difficult.

  • Complementary therapist  

    Complementary therapists provide complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology and hypnotherapy. Complementary therapies are used alongside – rather than instead of – conventional treatments. Tell your doctor about any complementary therapy you have because it can have side effects or interfere with medical treatment. And tell your complementary therapist about any medical treatment you have.

    Make sure the complementary therapist is properly trained and belongs to a professional body. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council gives advice about finding a therapist. Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK have information on the types of complementary therapy available and important safety issues.

Review date

Updated: May 2015 | Due for review: May 2017