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Multidisciplinary Teams

We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no I in team.” When it comes to battling cancer, that statement couldn’t be more accurate.

Thanks to an innovative approach to cancer care, local patients are not alone in their fight. They’re benefitting from the collective wisdom and experience of multidisciplinary teams of medical experts who offer unique perspectives and timely access to care.

To help us understand this philosophy of care, Manuel Valdivieso, MD, MS, CPE, an oncologist and medical director of ProMedica Cancer Institute, explains below why multidisciplinary teams are so important:

What is a multidisciplinary cancer team?

Multidisciplinary teams at ProMedica Cancer Institute generally include several doctors as well as other health care professionals who are experts in different aspects of a single cancer or groups of related cancers. Their job is to evaluate the patient’s condition and provide recommendations for the best course of action. Given the seriousness of cancer, the team collaborates at all levels to provide the best treatment options to the patient. They also provide a timely, coordinated plan of care and regular updates to the patient’s primary care physician.

Who are the specialists on a “typical” multidisciplinary team?

Each multidisciplinary cancer care team is comprised of different physicians and specialties, but they typically include medical and radiation oncologists, surgical specialists, pathologists, radiologists, and medical specialists. The team also includes dedicated registered nurse navigators who help patients schedule appointments and meetings with the team, provide education, and recommend support programs and services. The exact composition of a team depends on the type of cancer.

Why should patients want a multidisciplinary team involved in their care?

The earlier cancer is detected and correctly diagnosed and treated, the better the patient’s chances for a successful outcome. A best treatment option given in a timely manner is extremely important, making teamwork and collaboration on behalf of the patient a crucial step. Additionally, working with a multidisciplinary team can help eliminate conflicting opinions and allow patients and doctors to focus on a single, coordinated plan of care.

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