Multi Disciplinary Team
What is an MDT?
An MDT is weekly meeting by a hospitals doctors and nurses, who are involved in the care of patients with cancer. There are many MDTs who specialize in different types of cancer. A specialist Upper GI cancer MDT includes surgeons, gastroenterologists, radiologists (interpret images), pathologists (interpret biopsies), medical oncologists (chemotherapy), radiation oncologists (radiation therapy), specialist nurses and dieticians.
How does an MDT work?
At the MDT your lead clinician (the doctor who has performed your tests to date) presents your diagnosis and any issues regarding your conditions. The tests you have had done are analyzed by the relevant doctors. Treatment plans are formulated on the best evidence available.
Can I attend the MDT?
Patients are not able to attend the MDT due to privacy issues of the other patients being discussed. Multiple patients are discussed in the limited time that all doctors can be present in the same room. The language of the meeting is ‘medical jargon’ which it may be difficult to understand.
How can I be sure that my personal views and concerns are taken into account?
Your lead clinician is your advocate in this meeting. It is important that your doctor knows concerns, views and preferences about treatment before the meeting if possible.
How can I find out about the MDT discussion?
Your points of contact are your lead clinician and the MDT specialist nurse. The discussions of the MDT are recorded and documented in your medical record. You will receive a telephone call from your clinician regarding the MDT recommendations and how to move forward. A letter communicating the MDT discussions is sent to your GP.
What type of recommendations would an MDT suggest?
A good MDT discussion leads to recommendations of treatment or further tests. If a further test is required the reason why this may make a difference will be explained. It may be that a further MDT discussion will be needed with the results.
Treatment recommendations are not final and take the form of "Mr. or Mrs. X should see an oncologist to discuss the benefit of chemotherapy" rather than "Mr. or Mrs. X should have chemotherapy"
Who makes the final decision of my treatment?
Ultimately all decisions on your treatment are made by you. Your doctors of the MDT are there to guide you. You may want a second opinion if you are unhappy with the recommendations. You may also find that your GP (who is the doctor who often knows you best), close friends or family members may be extremely valuable in aiding your decision.