UF Health MedMatters

Multidisciplinary Teamwork Has Numerous Benefits for Patients with Urologic Cancers

Multidisciplinary team working togetherAdvances in the understanding of genitourinary cancers have resulted in a growing number of treatment options. For patients with bladder, kidney, prostate, penile or testicular cancer, choosing UF Health Urology’s multidisciplinary urologic cancer clinic can ensure they receive comprehensive care individualized to their personal situation.

Many patients will need more than one treatment modality to obtain the best outcomes. For example, a man who has high-risk localized prostate cancer will often benefit from radiation oncology, medical oncology and surgery. Such a patient needs to learn about the success rates and side effects of all these therapies, which can be quite daunting and difficult.

“It is really important for patients to get the full picture,” according to Paul Crispen, M.D., an associate professor in the department of urology. At many other institutions, patients need to call each office to schedule their appointments, then travel to different locations. UF Health eliminates this problem by scheduling the patient all for all three appointments at once and having them in close proximity.

A prime example of this can be noted when looking at the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to bladder removal surgery. Nationally, reports demonstrate that only 30% to 40% of eligible patients receive the recommended chemotherapy prior to bladder removal surgery, but up to 80% of patients per year received recommended chemotherapy at UF Health. These excellent utilization rates demonstrate the enhanced coordination of care that can be achieved through a multidisciplinary clinic.

In some cases, additional specialists can be involved through the dedicated genitourinary tumor board. The board comprises urologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists and pathologists. “They all get in a room and review the patient’s case to make sure we’re not missing anything, make sure we all agree with the staging information and the pathology,” Crispen explains. “That ensures we are making the right recommendations for the patient.”

An often-overlooked benefit of fully informing patients before treatment is that education minimizes the risk of regret, Crispen adds. Patients who don’t know all their options beforehand may later second-guess their treatment decisions, especially if they have poor outcomes or severe side effects.

Another advantage of the multidisciplinary clinic is access to leading-edge care through clinical trials. “The clinical trials we offer aim to improve existing treatment options, decrease side effects of treatments and provide patients with additional treatment options after established options have failed,” Crispen says.

The multidisciplinary clinic stores all relevant medical records, so patients don’t have to worry about which physician has a scan in their files or whether one physician has seen the lab work ordered by another. Multidisciplinary care continues even after treatment has come to a close. Thanks to the centralization and coordination at the clinic, physicians are able to collaborate on a comprehensive, personalized survivorship plan for each patient and communicate with each other throughout the post-treatment surveillance period.

About UF Health Shands Hospital

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University of Florida Health Shands Hospital has been recognized among the nation’s best hospitals in seven adult medical specialties. Overall, UF Health Shands Hospital was recognized as one of the best hospitals in Florida. In addition to being ranked among the nation’s top 50 hospitals in seven specialties, UF Health Shands Hospital also was listed as “high performing” in seven specialties, including abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colon cancer surgery, COPD, heart failure, lung cancer surgery, neurology & neurosurgery and orthopaedics.