Multidisciplinary Treatment of Breast Cancer

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in ALL ABOUT CANCER, women's health | Posted on 09-01-2018


Breast cancer is the most common malignant tumour in women and is occurring more frequently at a younger age.

Throughout history there have been many changes in the management of this condition, both in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Developments have led to recovery being achieved in close to 85% of cases. But one of the most significant developments has been the multidisciplinary approach to this condition, which guarantees the most appropriate treatment for each patient according to current scientific standards. Breast cancer should be treated by a multidisciplinary team, specialised in the breast, offering individually tailored treatment in each case.


Multidisciplinary team in the treatment of breast cancer

Dr Fran Fernandez, from the Breast Unit at Vithas Xanit International, explains in this post the role of each of the professionals involved in the multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer, a key part in the patient’s recovery process.

  • Radiologists, they are fundamental to the whole process as they are “the gateway,” they initiate the whole process of breast cancer diagnosis, performing the necessary tests to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis. They not only play a part, they are essential in the marking of the majority of lesions for later removal in theatre.
  • Pathologists have acquired a distinct role in the last few years, no longer being simply those who confirm malignant disease, but those who perform diagnostic tests and provide reports with the great amount of information required to offer the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
  • Nuclear medicine physicians play a major role in our theatres for important sentinel node localisation, a technique which has prevented innumerable cases of axillary emptying and its subsequent problems. They work with the radiologists using other investigations focused on diagnosis, of great use in the management of breast cancer.
  • Gynaecologists are active participants at the very beginning of the process with screening of asymptomatic patients, detecting possible abnormalities during their examination.
  • Medical oncologists and radiation oncologists are another critical link in the chain. They are responsible for administering chemotherapy treatment or prescribing radiotherapy, both before and after surgery, to help shrink tumours and promote a higher cure rate with comprehensive treatment of the disease. They are also those responsible for research and better understanding of the disease, participating in the multiple research studies required to learn more about the disease and therefore improve treatment where possible.
  • The plastic surgeon, aesthetic appearance is also crucial, participation of the plastic surgeon is therefore essential to improve results.
  • The general surgeon, who in this case serves as a common link to the whole team, manages the patient’s journey in the agreed manner from the moment presented at the committee, deciding on technical aspects of the surgery when required.


Vithas Xanit Oncology Committee

The cases of patients who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer are presented weekly at the Oncology Committee. The committee’s radiologists, pathologists, medical and radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians and surgeons decide together on the best treatment option for each, individual patient. From that point on, a multidisciplinary decision is taken in the same Oncology Committee regarding any new circumstance that may patient may develop. Thus, results following surgery, the end of treatment or any other incident result in further discussion of the case to ensure the best decision is made.

A multidisciplinary team provided for the patient, it achieves its objective: the complete recovery and rehabilitation of the patient, in 85% of cases. Prevention and regular mammograms are also an essential part of effective treatment.