About cancer

Doctors

There are many different types and grades of doctors you may meet during your cancer care experience.

General Practitioners (GP's/Family doctors)

Most doctors who treat cancer are based in hospitals, but general practitioners (GP’s) are also involved in diagnosing and caring for cancer patients. The GP (general practitioner or family doctor) is the doctor who is responsible for your medical care at home. He or she is usually the first doctor you will see he/she will refer you for tests and investigations, or refer you to a hospital for treatment.

Your GP can coordinate the help you need and arrange help from other healthcare professionals, such as community nurses. He or she will continue to provide general medical care for you that is not related to your cancer. They will receive information regarding your hospital consultations, and if/when you have been an inpatient.

Hospital doctors

Among hospital doctors, the most senior specialists are consultants who supervise the work of a team of doctors. The team may include a specialist registrar (a senior doctor in specialist training) and associate specialists or staff grade doctors.

Other doctors in the consultant’s team might include what was formerly known as house officers and senior house officers. They are sometimes called foundation year or junior doctors but are fully qualified members of the team. F1 doctors are in their first year of post graduation medical degree, after which they achieve full registration with the General Medical Council (GMC). By the end of year two, (F2) they will have chosen the area of medicine they wish to specialise in.

Medical students are training to become doctors and learn by being involved in treating and caring for patients. However you can say if you do not want a medical student to be present, or if you want to talk privately to your doctor. You have a right to privacy and this will not affect your care.

There are many different kinds of doctor or surgeon involved in diagnosing, treating or caring for cancer patients. The kind of doctor or surgeon will depend on your type of cancer and other needs you may have. You can find out more about hospital doctors at types of hospital doctors explained.