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Impact of Tumor Board Conferences on Treatment of Skin Cancer

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2018

When a patient presents with recurrent or advanced skin cancer, multidisciplinary team meetings provide an opportunity for specialists from several disciplines to discuss the relevant diagnostic, therapeutic, and social issues and to develop a coordinated, individualized plan for treatment. These meetings, better known as tumor board conferences, are often a cornerstone of treatment at leading cancer centers and are required for accreditation by some organizations. A study published in the JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network surveyed the physician leaders of skin cancer tumor board conferences at National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive and clinical cancer centers in an effort to uncover the structure, function, and impact of these meetings.

“Existing conferences enhance communication among physicians and provide a valuable opportunity for involved specialties and professions to discuss cases,” stated Christopher A. Barker, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues. “The results of this survey may aid other institutions striving to develop and refine skin cancer [tumor board conferences].”

Of the 59 centers successfully contacted, 14 (24%) reported that their institution does not have a conference where skin cancer cases are discussed. The remaining 45 centers identified 53 physician leaders. A total of 38 physicians completed the online survey, approximately half of whom were medical or surgical oncologists.

All respondents indicated that the meetings enhanced communication among physicians and provided an opportunity for involved specialists and professionals to discuss cases, and 97% reported that the meetings had a moderate to significant impact on patient care. As for barriers to organizing tumor board conferences, the most frequently cited was designating a common available date and time for attendees (62%).



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