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A Team Approach to Cancer Care

A multidisciplinary tumour program (MDT program) is comprised of a group of specialised doctors and other health professionals with expertise in specific cancer types. There are multiple specialised MDT programs across the Sydney West Cancer Network that gather together on a regular basis to discuss and manage an individual patient’s care. Collectively they plan the treatment that’s best for you in line with best current international practise.

What type of people make up an MDT?

In relation to cancer care, a multidisciplinary tumour program may include membership of any or all of the following health care professionals, depending on the type of cancer and the services available in particular locations:

  • Haematologist
    Medical oncologist
    Radiation oncologist
    Specialist surgeon
    General surgeon
  • Supportive and palliative care specialist
    Specialised cancer care nurse
  • Pathologist
  • Radiologist
    Allied health professionals (such as nutritionists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, speech pathologists and social workers)
    General practitioners (GPs)

Medical specialists are all required to meet and maintain certain criteria to be a member of a multidisciplinary program.

Other health professionals may also be involved, such as a:
a typical MDT meeting
  • psych-oncologist (a specialist in the aspects of cancer that go beyond medical treatment and include lifestyle, psychological and social aspects of cancer).
  • familial cancer specialist / genetic counsellor – a specialist in looking at family links to cancer
  • research scientist
  • clinical trials coordinator
What happens at a Multidisciplinary Tumour Program Meeting?

Members of the MDT Program meet regularly to discuss a list of new or relapsed patients with cancer or haematological disorders that have been referred to the service.  As a group they examine all the tests, scans and investigations provided by the referring doctor.  With all the facts taken into consideration they collectively decide upon an  agreed course of treatment/action that is tailored specifically and the most effective for you, taking into account various factors such as best current international practice for the type and stage of your cancer etc.

What are the benefits of my case being discussed at a specialty Multidisciplinary Tumour Program meeting?

Patients referred to a specialised multidisciplinary tumour program are more likely to:

  • receive accurate diagnosis and staging
  • be offered a choice of treatments decided by a group of experts, rather than by one doctor
  • receive better coordination and continuity of care through all stages of the cancer
  • be treated in line with locally agreed policies and national guidelines
  • be offered appropriate and consistent information
  • have their psychological and social needs considered
The Cancer Institute NSW endorses and promotes multidisciplinary care as a recognised essential element of best practice cancer care in a quality cancer system. They see multidisciplinary tumour (MDT) meetings as an important strategy in ensuring the delivery of multidisciplinary, coordinated care for people with cancer.

Click on the button below to learn more about the various Multidisciplinary Tumour Programs across the Network.

Multidisciplinary Tumour Programs



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