Developing Better Multidisciplinary Strategies

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“More than any other disease, head and neck cancer requires constant interplay between a number of different specialties,” 

Sandeep Samant, MD, Chief, Head and Neck Surgery, Northwestern Medicine, and Chair of the Multidisciplinary Head & Neck Symposium sponsored by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, said at the symposium’s opening session.

“Unlike many other cancers where one particular type of treatment may take the lead—for instance, in leukemia and lymphoma, it is the medical oncologist who takes the lead—in head and neck cancer, each and every specialty is equally involved in the management of the patient. There has to be a constant dialogue between different specialists, so that the patient’s treatment can be tailored in such a way that you can reduce toxicity,” Dr. Samant explained in a follow-up interview with The ASCO Post.

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“In planning the Multidisciplinary Head & Neck Symposium, we were aware of the considerable disagreement and debate around many different issues. So the symposium serves as a forum for people of differing opinions to come together, to develop better strategies for new clinical trials and new treatments for patients in the future,” Dr. Samant said.

More than any other disease, head and neck cancer requires constant interplay between a number of different specialists.
— Sandeep Samant, MD

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More than 235 physicians and other health-care professionals attended the symposium. In an audience poll, 64% reported a specialty focus in otolaryngology or head and neck, dental, or oral surgery. In addition, 21% reported a specialty focus in radiation oncology, 13% in hematology/oncology, and 2% in speech pathology. Nearly half (48%) reported being in practice 10 or more years; 14% had 6 to 10 years in practice; and 38% had up to 5 years in practice.

“The symposium is timely, and seeing the interest that we got this time, we hope to make this a regularly scheduled activity,” Dr. Samant said. “We have already issued a save-the-date for December 1 and 2, 2018.” ■

Disclosure: Dr. Samant reported no potential conflicts ofinterest.