The best care that mesothelioma treatment has to offer is from a multidisciplinary team. Make sure that you are not missing out on it.
A multidisciplinary team is where you have doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from different areas of medicine working together on your case.
In the past, the usual way mesothelioma patients received care was from a team made up of doctors, nurses and others from just one area of medicine.
For example, they were all from the hospital’s oncology department. Or they were all from the treatment center’s thoracic surgery group.
Don’t misunderstand. Mesothelioma treatment offered by a team in a single discipline can be top-flight. It all depends on the talent, experience and determination of the players on that team.
However, a study from researchers in Britain suggests that mesothelioma care by a multidisciplinary team might be even better for you.
Mesothelioma Treatment More Effective When Multidisciplinary
The researchers are from the University of Bristol and several nearby hospitals. They found that mesothelioma patients being cared for by a sample multidisciplinary team got accurate diagnoses and effective treatment.
That was because each patient was looked at more broadly than would have been possible for a single-discipline team. The broader view led to smarter mesothelioma treatment strategies.
The researchers also noticed that these mesothelioma patients tended to sign up for clinical trials more often.
Also, mesothelioma patients under the care of multidisciplinary teams may be getting needed treatments and services faster.
Multidisciplinary teams are the standard of care in Britain. It’s been that way there since 2000. That was the year Britain’s National Health Service recommended that all cancer patients be cared for by multidisciplinary teams.
Other, earlier research has found that patients like the multidisciplinary team way of giving care. It helps them not get lazy about taking all their prescribed mesothelioma medications. That’s important for longer mesothelioma survival.
However, the current research found problems with the multidisciplinary team concept. The main one is that the National Health Service doesn’t always give the teams enough funding.
Proper funding allows the teams to have meetings when they’re supposed to. The ideal is for the teams to meet once a week to discuss each patient’s care. But meetings get taken off the calendar when there isn’t money to pay for them.
Mesothelioma Doctors Meet as a Team
The researchers based their finding on the work of one multidisciplinary team over a two-year period.
The team consisted of mesothelioma professionals working in southwestern England. They were part of a cancer network responsible for the health of millions of people in a 2,500-square-mile region.
This team did meet weekly to discuss mesothelioma patients. Each meeting usually lasted around an hour, but sometimes only about a half an hour.
The team discussed every mesothelioma patient admitted to their cancer service between the start of 2014 and the end of 2015. They discussed each patient at least once during that time.
The team had a pulmonologist, thoracic oncologist and radiologist specializing in chest work. It also had a doctor who identifies mesothelioma cells as either sarcomatoid, biphasic or epithelial.
A thoracic surgeon was part of the team, too. But that doctor came to only about 20 percent of the meetings.
The title of the researchers’ article was “What is The Role of a Specialist Regional Mesothelioma Multidisciplinary Team Meeting? A Service Evaluation of One Tertiary Referral Centre in the U.K.”
The article was published in the online edition of BMJ Open.