Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer
Doctors and Departments

Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT)

Unlike most other diseases, cancer treatment requires an integrated approach from several specialists, each with their own expertise. This team of specialists who would work together on your cancer, is referred to as the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). Many global organizations have recognized the importance of a MDT for cancer treatment, as it improves coordinated care to you, as a patient. This team is available in some of the best breast cancer hospitals in India. Your MDT would include specialists from the following:

  • Specialist for Breast Cancer
  • Medical Oncologist: A clinician specialized in the medical treatment of cancer.
  • Surgical Oncologist: A surgeon specialized in the surgical treatment of cancer.
    Breast Surgeon: A surgeon specialized in the surgical removal of breast tumors. This is considered a super specialty in surgery.
    Radiation Oncologist: A clinician specialized in treating cancer with radiation.
  • Plastic surgeon: A surgeon specialized in breast reconstruction.
  • Radiologist: A clinician specialized in reading X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other imaging modalities.
  • Pathologist/Onco-pathologist: A clinician specialized in examining tissue samples under a microscope.
  • Genetic Specialist: A clinician/scientist who determines the genetic make-up of a tumor. These tests may be done in specific high risk patients or for those in whom a targeted therapy may be beneficial.
  • Physiotherapist: Physical therapists provide support for patients especially to alleviate the effects of some of the treatments for cancer.
  • Counselor: Psychologist by training that offers counselling to patients
  • Dietitian: Offers personalized support to cancer patients.
  • Palliative care specialists: These professionals help patients and families deal with the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment such as anxiety and depression as well as keep the patient comfortable especially in incurable cases.

Tumor board

A tumor board is a meeting where a Multi-Disciplinary Team discusses cancer cases and share knowledge. The board’s goal is to determine the best possible cancer treatment and care plan for an individual patient. Having fresh perspectives from other doctors makes it much easier to come up with that plan.
In some hospitals, all cancer cases are discussed at the Tumor Board, while in other hospitals the Tumor Board focuses on cases where a doctor seeks inputs from other specialists on the patient's case. It’s OK to ask your doctor if or why your case was discussed at a tumor board. Or if it wasn’t, why not? In some cases, a patient’s treatment plan is very straightforward using standard treatment guidelines, and the doctor may feel a tumor board review isn’t needed. However, you can request that one be done.

Breast Clinic

This is a specialized center with a multidisciplinary team of experts to help you with all breast-related concerns, including breast cancer. These are normally found within a hospital and offer personalized care in a supportive environment for breast related diseases. These centers, in many cases, offer access to most or all of the specialists mentioned above. Some hospitals in India have Breast Clinics, do check if you can visit a hospital that has one.

Support Group

These are offline or online groups that connect patients suffering from cancer. Do find out about a support group around you. The hospital where you are being treated may have a support group that you could join.

Sources: WebMD; ​European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO); National Cancer Institute; Mayo Clinic; Cancer.Net