The brain tumour health-care team

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An overview of the many different health-care professionals that are involved in the care of a child with a brain tumour.

Key points

  • Many health-care professionals are involved in the care of a child with a brain tumour.

Brain tumours can have a significant impact on various parts of the body and on your child's activities and daily life. For this reason, many different health-care professionals are involved in the care and treatment of a child with a brain tumour.


A doctor who specializes in giving medications to control pain and to sedate patients during a procedure. The anaesthetist also monitors the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, level of consciousness, and other life signs during surgery.

Cancer geneticist

Cancer geneticists analyze the genomes of cancer patients, and that of their tumors, to identify cancer genes that are associated with the tumour. They may provide information to help manage the tumour. They will also be involved in the follow-up of patients and families that develop a tumour associated with a cancer predisposition syndrome.

Child life specialist

A child life specialist provides therapeutic play interventions and opportunities for children to build supportive relationships, express themselves, gain mastery, and learn about the hospital environment. Child life specialists work to minimize the negative impact of illness and hospitalization for children and their families.

Child psychiatrist

A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in working with children, youth, and families whose mental, emotional, and behavioral lives are not developing as desired by the child, teen, or family. Such difficulties in development may be the result of a variety of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Clinical psychologist

A psychologist diagnoses, counsels, and treats individuals, families, or groups. A clinical psychologist helps children and their families deal with stress, behavioural, or emotional difficulties, and to achieve positive changes in behaviour, lifestyle, or relationships.


An expert in diet and nutrition who helps your child maintain good nutrition while coping with the side effects of cancer treatment.


A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases involving glands that produce hormones. These are chemicals that send signals to different parts of the body to manage functions. An example of an endocrine disease is diabetes.

Interlink nurse

A nurse who specializes in providing support for children with cancer and their families throughout and after the treatment process. The interlink nurse assesses family needs, links the family to community services, and acts as a liaison with hospital care providers, community health professionals, and the child’s school.


A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Such disorders include epilepsy, developmental delays, and severe language or learning disabilities.


A doctor who specializes in managing tumours of the brain and spinal cord. The neuro-oncologist provides an individual treatment plan and helps to combine different strategies (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) at various timelines according to age and tumour type.


A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and problems originating in the brain that affect the eyes. These diseases may result in vision loss, double vision, or pain. Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty of both ophthalmology and neurology.


A psychologist who specializes in understanding brain-behaviour relationships. A neuropsychologist assesses such functions as visual-motor and fine motor skills, intelligence, attention, memory, language, problem solving, and academic skills, and may diagnose disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities. Neuropsychologists can offer strategies to help people improve skills and functions, assist in obtaining special academic placements or accessing community resources, and provide counselling.


A doctor who specializes in analyzing images of diseases of the brain and spine. A neuroradiologist uses imaging tools such as computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and angiography. Neuroradiology is a subspecialty of diagnostic radiology.


A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases or injuries of the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. A neurosurgeon may provide surgical or non-surgical care for disorders such as head injuries, brain aneurysms, chronic low back pain, and brain and spinal tumours.


A health professional who is often the primary caregiver, acting as a manager of the patient’s complete health-care needs.

Nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist

A nurse who has advanced knowledge in a specialized area or population. The clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner can help with diagnosis, prescribe medications, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and perform advanced practice procedures. They coordinate care and communicate with parents.

Occupational therapist (OT)

An OT is trained to assess and treat any problems your child may have that may affect their ability to do everyday tasks. These include eating, bathing, playing, swallowing, and school skills such as handwriting, attention, memory, and organization.


A doctor who specializes in examining and analyzing sample tissue taken during surgery from patients to diagnose diseases. A neuropathologist is a pathologist who specializes in examining tissues of the brain and spine.


A pharmacist prepares, distributes, and stores medications, ensuring safety, accuracy, and quality.

Physiotherapist (PT)

A physiotherapist (PT) assesses and treats movement problems caused by disease or injury. In the early stages of recovery, the PT may help your child keep the joints and muscles moving and help with activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and climbing stairs. At later stages, the PT will help your child become as active and independent as possible.

Radiation oncologist

A doctor who prescribes, plans, and monitors radiation therapy treatment. Radiation oncologists meet patients regularly to help them cope with any side effects and assess the results of treatment after therapy ends.

Radiation therapist

A radiation therapist gives the radiation treatment. Radiation therapists work with the radiation oncologist and physicists to design, plan, prepare, and administer the radiation treatment. The therapists are also responsible for making devices such as masks that may be needed during treatment.

Social worker

Social workers are trained to help children and families deal with lifestyle changes, problems, and relationships. A social worker offers counselling to patients to identify concerns, consider solutions, and find services that can help them.

Speech-language pathologist

A speech-language pathologist provides consultation, assessment, education, and treatment to infants, children, and their families regarding speech, language, and overall communication skills. They also assess for oral motor problems which could lead to possible difficulties with eating, swallowing, and articulation.

Last updated: April 8th 2022