According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached nearly 14.5 million in 2014 and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024. Comprehensive cancer care is critical in the treatment of this disease. Dr. Christos Galanopoulos, vice president and chief clinical officer, Renown Institute for Cancer explains why this special kind of care is so important.
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Renown Health aims to minimize the struggle that sometimes comes with navigating cancer care by adopting a multidisciplinary approach. We asked Dr. Christos Galanopoulos, vice president and chief clinical officer of the Renown Institute for Cancer, to explain more.
What does the term “Multidisciplinary Care” mean for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, and why is it important?
A multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and treatment is important because when doctors and support staff collaborate, outcomes improve and patients are more satisfied with their care and the overall experience. This approach is designed to help patients and their loved ones schedule tests and procedures, navigate between doctor visits and understand cancer and treatment.
In the past, the challenge has been that care providers weren’t talking to each other. Now, cancer centers around the country have developed a process where everyone is a part of the team, from the doctors and nurse navigators, to the nutritionists and financial counselors, to ensure the best outcome for the patient.
Tell us what a comprehensive cancer center looks like in terms of treatment and level of care.
A comprehensive cancer center will have a team to help coordinate the best treatment plan, which may include infusion and chemotherapy, clinical trials, radiation therapy and surgical options. This integrated approach allows for treatment without delays.
Comprehensive care also includes specialists to give patients and their loved ones the opportunity to discuss treatment options for personalized care, and education to help patients navigate through the disease and treatment processes.
What kinds of questions can someone with cancer ask to make sure all of their specialists are collaborating as a team for the best possible care?
One of the important questions to ask about your healthcare provider’s accreditation. It’s important to know you are being treated somewhere that is meeting certain standards.
A cancer diagnosis is a big diagnosis — it effects everyone in the family. It’s also important you are seeing someone who knows the disease, knows how to manage the disease and also knows how to manage the family and all that entails. You may also want to ask if your physician is specially trained in the type of care you are receiving. Do they do this type of procedure often?
To learn more about the Renown Institute for Cancer, visit renown.org/cancer or call 775-982-4000.