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Tumour Board

What is a tumour board?

Tumour board is a meeting where doctors of various specialties like medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, nuclear medicine, radiation oncology and other caregivers like medical social workers and nursing officers discuss and decide the optimum treatment plan of a cancer patient. In a tumour board meeting, the doctors discuss and debate the various treatment options for a particular patient, share the updated medical knowledge or any clinical trials that may be applicable for a particular patient, their personal experiences in the treatment of similar cancer cases, whether any further investigations are needed for a particular patient, any clarifications regarding the interpretation of any investigation reports, etc. After the discussion, a joint treatment plan most suitable for a particular patient is formulated.

Why is a tumour board needed?

Cancer is a very heterogeneous disease. Patients suffering from the same cancer may have differences in terms of stage of cancer, co-morbidities, mutation profile of cancer and other factors. Thus patients suffering from the same cancer may need to be treated differently. Tumour board enables a discussion among the various specialists to formulate a plan of treatment that may be most suitable for a particular cancer patient. It is a platform where the specialists share their knowledge and experience to decide the most suitable line of treatment for a patient.

Is tumour board discussion done for all cancer patients?

In some hospitals, tumour board discussion is done for all cancer patients whereas in some other centres, it may be done for selected cases where the treating doctor wishes to seek opinion from his/her colleagues regarding the best treatment option.

Can patient or caregivers participate in tumour board discussion?

Yes, Patients or their caregivers can participate in the tumour board discussion.

What is the concept of disease specific tumour boards?

Oncology is an extremely diversified field. Some cancer patients may be discussed in speciality tumour board. For example, a patient of brain tumour may be discussed in a tumour board which comprises of a neurosurgeon in addition to other specialists.

What benefits does the patient derive from tumour board discussion?

Patients benefit from having their case discussed in the tumour board. It helps them get a consolidated medical opinion from a team of oncologists, rather than a single doctor. It helps to modify and refine the treatment plan that may have been decided by an individual doctor. There are medical studies to show that patients whose treatment plan is formulated after discussion in a tumour board do better than patients who are not discussed in tumour board.


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