For awhile now, we’ve been hearing this phrase “multidisciplinary team approach.” It is included on documents that patients receive when they come to a cancer center for care. It is commonly heard on the radio as a marketing ploy to encourage people to come to their cancer center. But what does it really mean, and are patients benefiting from it?
There are many configurations of this team: a patient seeing a surgeon and a medical oncologist, or the patient seeing a surgeon and a radiation oncologist. How about all 3 together? Or as a tandem team? Then let’s add in a radiologist, pathologist (although he or she doesn’t actually “meet” the patient), the nurse navigator, the patient navigator, the nurse practitioner (or several different ones), a plastic surgeon, a cancer rehabilitation therapist, a genetics expert, a social worker, and possibly others.