Choosing a specialist

General practitioners (GPs) refer suspected and diagnosed cancer patients to oncology specialists, usually a surgical oncologist. A biopsy (sample of the tumour) will be taken and evaluated by a pathologist. If it is found to be cancerous the patient will undergo a series of diagnostic tests and scans to determine the size of the cancer and to find out whether it has spread.

The surgical oncologist will often discuss cancer diagnoses with other specialists and recommend a course of treatment for individual patients. Although treatment will often involve a team approach, the original doctor will remain a primary point of contact for the patient.

Any patient can seek a second opinion from other doctors or medical teams at any time. Your GP or specialist can refer you to other specialists, and you can ask for your medical history to be sent to the doctor providing the second opinion. Remember to ask for your x-rays and scans and take them to new appointments.