A multidisciplinary clinic offers patients an “all in one” package that simplifies the process of getting the best treatment plan. At the CU Cancer Center, MDC’s are clinics that focus on a specific type of cancer. For example, patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer would be seen in the colorectal cancer MDC, and patients with pancreas cancer would be seen in an MDC specific to pancreas cancer. At an MDC, patients are evaluated in one day by all of the specialists who take care of that specific cancer. An MDC team may include surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, dietitians, genetic counselors, and more.
After a patient is evaluated, the entire team of specialists (often more than 50 people) comes together to discuss the best treatment plan for the patient.
Currently, there are 11 MDC’s at the cancer center:
MDC’s are continuing to expand to other cancer types. Urology Oncology will be started soon.
The multidisciplinary clinics are a great option for all patients whether they are newly diagnosed, looking for a second opinion, or going through treatment.
In addition to accessing a full team of specialists all in one place, patients who visit an MCD work with a health navigator before and during their clinic visit who works as a dedicated point of contact. This navigator is either a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant who specializes in a patient’s cancer type. They are referred to as Advanced Practice Providers or APP’s.
Before a visit to the clinic, an APP will reach out to the patient to ensure they do not need any additional testing before being evaluated by the specialist team. If additional testing is needed the APP will arrange for tests to take place on the same day as the MDC appointment so that there is no need for the patient to come to the hospital more than once.
On the day of the MDC appointment, patients should expect to be at the hospital all day (with the exception of patients with esophageal and gastric cancers who will have a two-day clinic). At the end of the day, patients will leave with comprehensive treatment recommendations based on the combined expertise of 50 or more specialists.
After the appointment at the MDC, patients can take the recommendations to their cancer care team, whether that team is on the Anschutz Campus, a clinic near their home, or anywhere in the world. This is advantageous because patients that live far away can sometimes find more straightforward cancer treatments close to home, while those with more involved needs may choose to work with some of the same experts on the MDC who contribute to their treatment plan.
Patients that go to an MDC have the opportunity to talk with doctors and other health specialists that are experts in their specific cancer type. And by meeting all at once rather than in a series of appointments over the course of days or weeks, this team approach decreases delays in starting therapy. Including experts in supportive care including dietitians, exercise therapists, and palliative care specialists ensures that every patient is treated as a whole person rather than being seen as just their disease.
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