MedWatch Today: Treating Cancer Patients with a Multidisciplinary Team

Med Watch Today

Getting diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming on so many levels. The team at the Community Cancer Institute knows this and works diligently to ensure patients are guided smoothly through their care and treatments.

It was last fall when Tim Sue and Dr. David Disbrow first met. Tim is 87-years old and lives in Porterville. He said he had been suffering from unusual bleeding and a doctor there diagnosed him with hemorrhoids.

“Lose weight, lose appetite, can’t sleep,” explained Tim of the symptoms he felt.

He was referred to see Dr. Disbrow, a colon and rectal surgeon at the Community Cancer Institute. Dr. Disbrow said Tim underwent a CT scan and a MRI and they discovered a cancerous mass in his rectum.

Dr. Disbrow stated, “We brought him into our multidisciplinary rectal cancer clinic, he was actually a part of our first clinic and from there we staged his cancer and then came up with an individualized treatment plan for him.”

Tim was diagnosed with stage two rectal cancer. Dr. Disbrow ordered chemotherapy.

“His cancer was really close to the area where we’d surgically remove it and so we wanted to do something to shrink that tumor down before we did surgery,” said Dr. Disbrow.

The news of cancer was devastating, said Tim. He and his family were overwhelmed.

Oncology nurse navigator Lorena Garcia stepped in to help. She said, “We help patients navigate through their cancer diagnosis, we make sure they’re educated on their treatment plan, that’s our top priority because we feel that the more they understand what their treatment consists of, hopefully they’re more at ease throughout their treatment.”

Patients at Community Cancer Institute can rest assured they are receiving the most comprehensive medical care with a team of specialists there to help them through it all.

“You have oncology which provides chemotherapy, radiation oncology which provides the radiation and surgery are the three main modalities of treatment – ostomy, genetic counselors, financial counselors, nurse navigators, whole kind of oncology team that really comes together to give the best care for these patients,” said Dr. Disbrow.

Lorena and Dr. disbrow explain having a multidisciplinary team streamlines the process for cancer patients and their families. Patients can often see multiple providers in one day which helps when many, like Tim, live far away.

Tim’s treatment and surgery were successful and Dr. Disbrow and his team were able to remove the cancer. Dr. Disbrow says tim’s prognosis is positive.

Tim commented, “He did a good job, he took it out. Took him six hours and two doctors and got it out.”

Lorena said her favorite part of her job is helping patients and their families get through a difficult journey.

“He was a pleasure to work with, his entire family was, they were all very receptive to the information i was giving them, anytime they had questions they would call me and that’s what i want patients to feel, comfortable to call me,” Lorena said.

Tim said he’s grateful for the care he received, especially to healthcare workers like Lorena and Dr. Disbrow.

The doctor ended, “To see patients go through that process and have a good outcome and feel grateful, it really warms my heart makes me feel good.”

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