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Should I Assemble a Multidisciplinary Team If I Have Lung Cancer?

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Published on November 7, 2016

Do I really need a multidisciplinary team for my lung cancer?  What is the benefit?  Who should be on my team?  Stage IV lung cancer survivor, Janet Freeman-Daily, gets the conversation started with Dr. Ross Camidge of the University of Colorado-Denver, and Dr. David Odell of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Both doctors agree:  two (or more) heads are better than one.  Dr. Odell puts it best:  “Educated, thoughtful patients who are active participants in their own care end up with better outcomes.”

This in-person town meeting was sponsored by the Patient Empowerment Network through educational grants from Helsinn, Genentech and Novartis, with additional funding from LUNGevity Foundation through an educational grant from Pfizer. It was produced by Patient Power in partnership with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and LUNGevity.  

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Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University LUNGevity Foundation

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Patient Empowerment Network

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Transcript | Should I Assemble a Multidisciplinary Team If I Have Lung Cancer?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Janet Freeman-Daily:

If a patient has gone to a local clinic that does not have a multidisciplinary team, what can they do? 

Dr. Camidge:       

Well, it’s a good question because you have to be careful, because you don’t want to say there’s only one way to skin a cat. And—and there isn’t. I mean, you can get exceptional care wherever you are. In general though, you know, two heads tend to be better than one. I think the basics in terms of getting a tissue diagnosis and getting staging are often done by pulmonologists or whoever the—the person first touches. That’s not an issue. I think where multidisciplinary care really comes in is when you start to make treatment decisions where you have choices.

You know, is this a surgery or a radiation aspect? And rather than—you know, if I went and spoke to David, you know, if I go to Midas, I’ll get a muffler; he’ll say surgery is going to be the best. If I go and see Tim, he’ll say radiation is the best. But it’s really when I get them both in the same room that I can get the balances done. Do you guys get on?

Dr. Odell:              

The one thing that—that I would add to that, and I think it’s—it—it—it’s a tension that patients often face is if—if I go and ask for a second opinion, am—am I—am I going to hurt the feelings of—of my physician. You know, is that going to be—is that an affront in some way? And when I—when I see patients who say well, I—you know, I’m going to—and we have this in—in a city that has multiple academic medical centers, we see this often where folks are seeing, you know, folks at—at Northwestern and folks at another—at another center. 

And I actually think that that’s a—a sign of a very educated and thoughtful patient. I love taking care of those folks, because I know that they’re not just going to take whatever advice I give them blindly on faith. They’re going to be an active participant in their care, an active part of that decision-making process. And I think that leads to better outcomes all around.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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