To help ensure the best outcome, it is recommended that all patients diagnosed with cancer are managed by a multi-disciplinary team. A multidisciplinary team is a group of doctors and other health professionals with expertise in a specific cancer, who together discuss and manage an individual patient’s care. They plan the treatment that is best for that patient.
The members of the team vary depending on the type of cancer but most will include a surgeon, radiologist, pathologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and clinical nurse specialist. Some will include a palliative care doctor and other health professionals such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, dietician, radiation therapist or psychologist.
When the team meet, they consider all the test results and other information available. This helps them plan the best care possible taking into account the patient’s general health, the size of the cancer, whether it has spread (stage), and how quickly it may grow or develop (grade). Each of the cancer centres has multidisciplinary teams in place for the common cancers who meet regularly to review newly diagnosed and post-operative patients and plan their care.