It is well-known that optimal management of urological malignancies is best achieved through multidisciplinary teams (MDT), but more than putting MDTs in place, experts are in agreement that a lot more needs to be done to support and increase the contacts and links among various medical disciplines.
“Multidisciplinary teams are commonly acknowledged as the gold standard of care for patients with cancer. In fact, this is implemented by law or national directives in many European countries. And rightly so. The management of any type of cancer cannot be, in the vast majority of cases, ideal if only one discipline is involved,” said medical oncologist Aristotelis Bamias, professor of Therapeutics Oncology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Alexandra Hospital.
Prof. Bamias is a resource speaker at the upcoming 10th European Multidisciplinary Congress on Urological Cancers (EMUC18) to be held in Amsterdam from 8 to 11 November. A member of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and ESMO representative in the Scientific Committee of EMUC18, he will speak on the use of immunotherapy in metastatic muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC).
He noted that aside from establishing multidisciplinary teams, physicians and cancer experts should also support efforts to widen the impact or influence of MDT collaboration.
“First, formal MDT activities should be established, when they are not in place. Second, educational activities involving and addressed to different oncology professionals, such as EMUC, at national and international level, should be encouraged. Finally, specialised postgraduate education in GU Cancer can improve clinical practice, as underlined in an article which appeared in the 5th Issue of ESMO Perspectives.
According to Prof. Bamias, ESMO strongly believes in the integration of different professionals to support the role of multidisciplinary teams. “ESMO has expressed on many occasions their support in this practice. Our Society considers it crucial to establish MDTs as the standard practice across Europe for the optimisation of management of cancer patients. Interestingly, in a recent Spotlight article which appeared in the 5th Issue of ESMO Perspectives, an overview of the practical implementation of MDTs in various European countries has been offered, with an aim to bring differences to the surface and call on all stakeholders to improve the situation where needed.”
EMUC18’s comprehensive Scientific Programme reflects the synergies of the EAU, ESMO and the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO) to boost multidisciplinary work. Aside from current and controversial clinical issues, EMUC will tackle a wide range of key topics such as evolving paradigms in genito-urinary (GU) cancers, new trials update, and dilemmas in prostate management, to name a few.
Stressing the importance of continuing medical education, Prof. Bamias said such education requires close interaction between disciplines.
“Bringing specialists together will underline the significant contributions made by the different disciplines in optimising the management of our patients, and will eventually increase adherence to clinical guidelines, which are very similar between the societies representing the two disciplines,” he said.
Note: A detailed article based on an interview with Prof. Bamias will appear in the printed June-July edition of the EUT Newsletter.
Article by Joel Vega