A multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, her life is turned upside down.

Suddenly, she is consumed with the process of making appointments, getting more tests, making decisions and consulting with a variety of specialists – all at different locations. She may even seek second and third opinions.
This process is overwhelming and exhausting and can take weeks to months. For these reasons, our team developed a program to make the process easier for breast cancer patients.

Less than a year ago, Diablo Valley Oncology and West Coast Surgical Associates opened the Women’s Cancer Center of the East Bay in the Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic in Pleasant Hill. This new program focuses on breast cancer patients and brings together physician expertise from breast surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology.

Similar to multidisciplinary tumor boards at academic centers, board certified, highly trained and experienced physicians offer a multidisciplinary team approach to diagnosis and treatment planning. This way, patients receive multiple medical opinions from a group of specialists, helping them feel confident they have explored all of their options. Research shows that a multidisciplinary approach leads to better outcomes, with improved quality of life and higher survival rates.

Our multidisciplinary breast cancer clinic evaluates patients with diagnosed breast cancer in a comprehensive, single-day setting to minimize the time between diagnosis and treatment. In the initial appointment, women meet with a breast surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist.

After a tumor board discussion, each physician consults with the patient and presents the most appropriate course of treatment based on the opinions from the breast cancer physician team. By the end of the appointment, each patient receives a comprehensive treatment plan and a list of the next steps. This team approach spares patients and their family the anxiety and uncertainty of waiting days or weeks between appointments.

Patient response to the multidisciplinary breast cancer clinic has been fantastic. The Women’s Cancer Center of the East Bay integrates all of the essential components necessary for a comprehensive breast cancer program, all in one day – all in one place.

Svahn is a medical oncologist and breast cancer specialist with Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group in Pleasant Hill. She is the medical director of the Women’s Cancer Center of the East Bay. You can contact her at 925-677-5041or www.dvohmg.com.

Dr. Tiffany Svahn