Multidisciplinary Consultation

Patients with known or suspected cancers may benefit from pre-treatment consultations with one or more of the cancer specialists potentially involved in their care. Many patients benefit from multimodality therapy receiving surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The optimal sequencing of these different treatments differs from one patient to the next, being influenced by multiple factors that need to be considered before a treatment plan is finalized.

Previously, most patients were evaluated during multiple visits to different doctors’ offices, often on different days and in different locations. The physicians subsequently communicated their opinions to the patient and referring doctors independently, often without knowing the recommendations of the other specialists seeing the patient. As the sophistication and complexity of cancer care increases, it becomes particularly important that all the specialists involved in a patient’s care efficiently communicate and arrive at a consensus opinion. In some instances additional testing is required and needs to be promptly ordered and evaluated so as to avoid unnecessary delay in beginning treatment.

The Saint Francis Multidisciplinary Consultative service offers a new and innovative approach for patients with liver and pancreatic tumors. In one session a patient has sequential, individual consultations with Medical, Radiation and Surgical Oncologists. At the end of the consultation patients meet again with one of the specialists for a brief, preliminary summary discussion of their case. They are then informed as to the next step in the process. In essence this offers a fast, comprehensive and efficient “one-stop shopping” approach to a complicated cancer problem. 

In some instances additional testing may be indicated to complete their evaluation. After evaluating the patient and all necessary diagnostic data, the cancer specialists confer and discuss potential strategies to offer the patient effective and comfortable cancer treatments. In general the patient and the referring doctor will receive the results of the consultation within 24-48 hours. They may then proceed to the next phases of planning and initiating their treatment program.

Please Note: N.B.? In order to perform a comprehensive evaluation, our specialists need to review all prior diagnostic evaluations performed for the patients. Pathology slides from prior biopsies or surgery will be needed at least one week prior to the consultation for independent review by a Saint Francis pathologist. All diagnostic imaging (e.g. CT scans, MRIs, PET scans) must be delivered by the patient (or received in advance) for review by the cancer specialists on the day of the consultation.