Dr Lynda Brook, Macmillan Consultant in Paediatric Palliative Care, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, discusses parallel planning and supporting children and families when outcomes are uncertain.
To ensure that your child receives the best possible care, a team of health professionals called a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) will work together to create a personalised treatment plan for your child, to ensure all aspects of your child's care plan are covered.
The MDT consists of a variety of specialists, each with a different role relevant to brain tumours in children.
Some of the health professionals that you may meet, include:
Although not technically part of the MDT, your child's GP may be the first person you seek medical advice from when your child experiences symptoms of any kind. If the GP suspects your child may have a brain tumour, they will refer them for a brain scan and for a consultation with a more specialised health professional, such as a neurologist.
Your GP will also be involved in your child's day-to-day care during and after treatment.
A neurologist specialises in problems relating to the brain, spinal cord and nerves in the body. They can be involved at all stages from diagnosis to follow-up after treatment is complete.
A neuropathologist diagnoses diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) by looking at a sample of brain tissue ('biopsy') under a microscope. From carrying out this examination, the neuropathologist will be able to give a diagnosis of the type and grade of your child's brain tumour.
Neuro-oncologists specialise in the non-surgical management of patients with tumours of the brain and spinal cord. Your child's neuro-oncologist will work closely with the neurosurgeon and will co-ordinate any further treatment your child may need, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The clinical nurse specialist (sometimes called a neuro-oncology nurse) is your main contact between you and the MDT. They will be able to help with any questions or concerns you may have about treatment or other practical or emotional aspects of living with your child's brain tumour.
A radiotherapist is a specialist in using radiation to treat cancer. They will plan radiotherapy treatment specifically for your child's brain tumour type and will monitor their progress throughout the treatment
The radiographer is the person who actually administers the radiation treatment. Radiographers work with other professionals who help plan your child's treatment, including radiotherapists and medical physicists. Whilst your child is receiving radiotherapy, they will see radiographers daily.
In the UK, a clinical oncologist specialises in both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. They work with other members of the MDT to plan your child's treatment.
In addition to the 'core' staff who make up your child's health team, they may receive care from the following professionals:
Page last reviewed: 09/2013
Next review date: 09/2016
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