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Healthcare team members

This page explains the roles of some of the key professionals involved in treating pancreatic cancer.


The keyworker is your main point of contact. They will often be a specialist nurse.

Specialist Nurse

A nurse who provides expert care and advice about a condition, such as pancreatic cancer. The specialist nurse may be your main contact or keyworker.


A doctor who treats diseases of the digestive system, including the pancreas.


A doctor who treats cancer with treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.


A doctor who carries out surgery.


A professional who provides expert advice about diet and nutrition, including managing the symptoms of pancreatic cancer related to diet.

General practitioner (GP)

The GP will be able to help manage your family member’s cancer. For example, they may help manage some symptoms, and can refer them for other medical services.  

Community nursing service 

There are different nurses who can provide support and care locally in the community.

  • Community or district nurse – provide nursing care in people’s homes, including giving medication and pain control.
  • Palliative care nurse – nurses who specialise in managing pain and other symptoms.
  • Macmillan nurse – nurses who specialise in an area of cancer care. For example, Macmillan chemotherapy nurses give chemotherapy. Some Macmillan nurses are palliative care nurses – but not all.
  • Hospice nurse – provide palliative care and support at a hospice. They may also visit you at home.
  • Marie Curie nurse – nurses who provide nursing care in your home, often overnight.

Occupational therapist

A professional who can help find ways to carry out everyday tasks that might be difficult, for example by recommending specific equipment or adaptations at home. 


A health professional who helps people cope with illness and manage symptoms through movement and exercise.

Hospital palliative care team

A team of professionals who can help manage your symptoms and provide emotional support at hospital – either when you are staying there as an inpatient, or as an outpatient, where you don’t stay overnight. The team may include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and counsellors.

Community palliative care team

Similar to the hospital palliative care team, but they may visit you at home or arrange an outpatient appointment to help you manage your symptoms. Some teams are based at hospices.

Published June 2017

To be reviewed June 2019

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