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Cancer Conferences: What They Are & Why You Should Care

If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, it’s possible you’ve heard the term “cancer conferences,” but you’re not sure what it means or how it may impact cancer care.

Cancer conferences help determine the best course of treatment to improve a patient’s outcome. They bring together all disciplines of the patient care team, so everyone is more aware of what each specialty can contribute and any new techniques available.

The Samaritan Cancer Program offers two types of cancer conferences: tumor boards, which review non-breast related cancer cases, unless the breast case is emergent, and breast conferences, which review breast-related cancer cases.

Each conference, tumor or breast, evaluates clinical trial options, reviews imaging and pathology and includes representation from a wide range of specialties. Depending on the cancer case being reviewed, this can include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, palliative care specialists, radiologists and other allied professionals. The discussion amongst these unique disciplines allows for a whole-picture approach, ensuring all aspects of the patient’s case are reviewed and acknowledged.

While some cases may not be initially reviewed at a cancer conference, any patient with a cancer diagnosis, a family member or physician, can make a case review request to their oncology team at any point. The results of the cancer case review, typically a treatment plan, is then shared with the patient by their primary oncologist.

For more information about cancer conferences, talk with your oncology team.