Cancer Conference is held once a week at Emory Decatur Hospital. It is one of the leading conferences in the city, both in complexity of cases and number of professionals in attendance. On any given week there are usually over 50 participants. This enables our patients to have the benefit of a multi-disciplinary panel of doctors and healthcare professionals look at their cases and provide input into the best treatment options. The primary objective of Cancer Conference is twofold:
Each week at Cancer Conference, a number of patient cases are presented and evaluated. Guidelines for treatment are reviewed, and through collegial discussion, physicians ensure that the national standards of care have been met for each specific type of cancer. These conferences are held to review a patient’s care prior to starting treatment (prospective) to ensure the proper treatment is being implemented and to review patient’s care after it has already started (retrospective) to ensure the treatment is working as planned.
Patients are placed on the agenda by their oncology physician. Most cancer patients are treated by a number of different physicians with many different specialists involved. Cancer Conference is attended by surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, reconstruction specialists and other modalities as needed. Any physician who wants another opinion about the best course of treatment for his or her patient can have that patient’s case scheduled on the Cancer Conference agenda. This means that our patients are often getting a second, third or fourth opinion of the most effective treatment for their disease. Patient’s identities are protected by patient privacy standards, and all information shared is confidential. No names are used.
When a case is reviewed, the primary provider will inform all of the patient’s other doctors of the date and ask them to attend and give input. The care of the patient from presentation of the illness to treatment and recovery is discussed. In each case, there will be a review of all lab results specific to each patient’s cancer, pathology (biopsy and surgical) results and radiology work-up (CT, MRI, PET scan and/or X-ray) results. This information is automatically provided by the Emory Decatur Hospital Cancer Center unless the patient has had the tests done outside of our system. If there is outside pathology or radiology from another hospital, the patient can request copies so we have all the information necessary for a thorough review.
Although physicians and other care givers do not always agree on a plan of treatment, they value each other’s opinions and listen objectively to all the opinions shared. Ultimately, it is the patient’s physician who chooses the appropriate course of action. Often patients treated elsewhere will request that their cases be presented to our Cancer Conference as well. For more information, please call 404.501.EASY.