Meet Your Cancer Team

Working Together to Provide the Highest Level of Care

The team conference approach to cancer treatment, where physicians from every speciality gather to talk about newly diagnosed cases of cancer, is common to academic and metropolitan hospitals. It is not so common in smaller community hospitals, and southern Illinois patients are fortunate to have this level of care available.

Inside A Cancer Team Conference

In a crowded conference room early in the morning, an MRI study glows brightly on a screen. The image distinctly shows a spidery tumor that is invading a woman’s breast. Eighteen physicians, oncologists, pathologists and other health care providers listen intently as a surgeon describes the patient’s health history and the obstacles posed by the encroaching tumor.

They consider different treatment options from their individual specialities. There are a lot of questions to be answered. What does the scientific literature say about this type of tumor? How will the patient respond psychologically to certain treatments?

Not everyone immediately agrees on what treatment should be provided. But as the discussion continues, questions are answered, issues are resolved, and the team ultimately decides together what the best course of care will be.

“I have seen quite a few instances where a gray area or a misconception gets ironed out at the conference. With no conference and no close communication, the treatment may not have been as appropriate.”–Dr. Sujatha Rao, MD

Physicians on Your Cancer Team