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Improving outcomes in lung cancer: the value of the multidisciplinary health care team

Authors Denton E, Conron M

Received 18 October 2015

Accepted for publication 11 December 2015

Published 30 March 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 137—144


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Devang Sanghavi

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Eve Denton,1 Matthew Conron2

1Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Department, Alfred Hospital, 2Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract: Lung cancer is a major worldwide health burden, with high disease-related morbidity and mortality. Unlike other major cancers, there has been little improvement in lung cancer outcomes over the past few decades, and survival remains disturbingly low. Multidisciplinary care is the cornerstone of lung cancer treatment in the developed world, despite a relative lack of evidence that this model of care improves outcomes. In this article, the available literature concerning the impact of multidisciplinary care on key measures of lung cancer outcomes is reviewed. This includes the limited observational data supporting improved survival with multidisciplinary care. The impact of multidisciplinary care on other benchmark measures of quality lung cancer treatment is also examined, including staging accuracy, access to diagnostic investigations, improvements in clinical decision making, better utilization of radiotherapy and palliative care services, and improved quality of life for patients. Health service research suggests that multidisciplinary care improves care coordination, leading to a better patient experience, and reduces variation in care, a problem in lung cancer management that has been identified worldwide. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the multidisciplinary model of care overcomes barriers to treatment, promotes standardized treatment through adherence to guidelines, and allows audit of clinical services and for these reasons is more likely to provide quality care for lung cancer patients. While there is strengthening evidence suggesting that the multidisciplinary model of care contributes to improvements in lung cancer outcomes, more quality studies are needed.

Keywords: lung cancer, multidisciplinary care, mortality, tumor board, quality of life

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