Multidisciplinary Cancer Care

Comprehensive cancer treatment and care requires experts from many different specialty areas coming together to share their expertise. Munson Healthcare’s Regional Cancer Network includes the following multidisciplinary teams.

Breast Cancer Conference

The Breast Cancer Conference team meets weekly to discuss newly diagnosed breast cancer cases. This team includes:

  • General surgeon
  • Plastic surgeon
  • Medical oncologist
  • Radiation oncologist
  • Radiologist
  • Pathologist
  • Research nurse
  • Cancer genetics nurse practitioner
  • Oncology financial navigator
  • Breast health nurse coordinator 

Imaging and pathology slides are shown and a round table discussion takes place to make treatment recommendations for patients. Appropriate referrals and follow-up are discussed and documented by the RN Breast Navigator, ensuring communication and care coordination of the treatment plan to the team of specialists and patient.    

For patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer, the radiologists may do a special review of the pathology and previous mammograms. These findings are then discussed at the conference. 

Tumor Board

The Tumor Board is a multidisciplinary team of physicians and support staff that meets weekly. Individual patient plans for care may be discussed. Types of cancer tumor sites discussed are:

Genitourinary Tumor Conference

This tumor conference meets weekly to discuss treatment recommendations for newly diagnosed genitourinary cancers, such as prostate, bladder, and kidney tumor sites. The multidisciplinary team includes:

  • Urologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse navigator
  • Research nurse
  • Cancer genetics counselor   

Michigan Medicine Liver and Pancreas Tumor Conferences

The diagnosis and treatment for liver cancer and pancreatic cancer can be complex. There are times when input from specialists who work exclusively with these types of cancer is crucial to establishing the best possible plan. 

  • For patients diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer, their cases may be discussed in our weekly Michigan Medicine Liver and Pancreas conference. Munson Medical Center oncologists present patients to this expert group of specialists via video connection. Radiology images and pathology slides are seen by both teams from Ann Arbor and Traverse City for discussion between the physicians and the development of a care plan. 
  • Even for patients who eventually need to travel to Ann Arbor for some of their care, these conferences tend to eliminate at least one trip downstate. For many patients, the plan of care is carried out entirely at our Munson Healthcare locations. These patients receive the benefit of expert opinion without having to travel a long distance.

Learn more about the Michigan Medicine Multidisciplinary Pancreas Clinic

Learn more about the Michigan Medicine Liver Tumor Clinic

Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program

The Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program delivers advanced care in a patient-focused manner. This team sees patients who have been diagnosed with cancer of the lung, esophagus, or thymus. Our multidisciplinary clinic is held weekly and located in the Cowell Family Cancer Center attached to Munson Medical Center.

Patients have individual appointments with radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and a thoracic surgeon throughout the morning. Patients leave at the end of the day with a care plan in place and an itinerary of all appointments needed.

The goal is to make it as easy and pleasant as possible for patients to receive the care they need, whether it be treatment, screening, or prevention services.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screening options exist for those at high risk for developing lung cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. It causes more deaths than any other kind of cancer. Until now, there was no good way to detect early lung cancers.

With the use of low-dose CT screening, we may detect lung cancers earlier, increasing the chance of cure. CT lung screening in high risk patients has shown to decrease cancer death by 20 percent, according to the National Lung Screening Trial in 2011. Munson Healthcare offers low-dose CT lung cancer screening in Cadillac, Charlevoix, Gaylord, Grayling, Kalkaska, Manistee, and Traverse City.

Who should be screened?

Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT is recommended for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Between the ages of 55 and 77 years old 
  • Current or former smoker (former smokers who have quit within the last 15 years) 
  • Smoking history of at least 30 pack years*   

*Pack years = Maximum number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the total number of years smoked. 

What else should I know about screening?

Lung cancer screening is a process, not a single test. To realize the greatest benefit of screening and reduce your chances of dying from lung cancer, you must adhere to your health care provider’s directions regarding screening and smoking cessation.

No test is 100 percent accurate, so it is important to understand the limits of this screening study. It is possible to get false readings that either do not detect an underlying medical condition, such as lung cancer, or reveal findings that are suspicious of lung cancer even if you don’t have it. In such cases, you may be asked to undergo additional tests or a biopsy to verify the results. The screening chest CT also may reveal findings not related to your lungs that may require additional diagnostic tests. 

What will it cost?

Medicare and most other insurers cover lung cancer screening in high risk individuals. If your insurance does not currently cover this service, you can contact our oncology financial navigators at 231-392-8400 to discuss your options. Resources are available. 

Medicare requires a dedicated lung cancer screening counseling and shared decision-making visit from a physician or nurse practitioner. This visit is available through Munson Medical Center’s Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinic. The lung cancer screening nurse practitioner will work with the referring provider and pulmonologist to facilitate education and shared decision making, testing, and follow-up.

For more information on low-dose lung CT and Lung Cancer Screening at Munson Medical Center, call the Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinic at 231-392-8400

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