Conquering cancer requires a team approach. For many patients, navigating through referrals, tests, treatments, specialists and office visits can create additional challenges at a time when life is challenging enough. At the Lynn Cancer Institute (LCI), we take a different approach. It’s called multimodality care, and it brings the entire medical team to the patient – in one location.
Each multimodality team is comprised of physicians and healthcare professionals who specialize in a specific site of cancer such as breast, thoracic, urological, advanced skin cancer/melanoma and gastrointestinal. The team is able to develop a personalized plan of care for each patient. These treatments include the most advanced technology and current treatments available, as well as options for new protocols available only through clinical trials.
During the initial visit, a patient may meet with a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, oncology social worker, oncology dietitian, genetic oncologist or other specialists. This team of providers, along with radiologists, pathologists and additional experts, holds a conference to review the patient’s films, biopsy slides and any other test results. The team develops recommendations for additional diagnostic work-ups and treatments. The recommendations are then provided to the patient by the referring doctor or one of the team members. This evaluation allows each of the specialists involved in the care to collectively meet and create a coordinated treatment plan.
The multimodality clinics (MMCs) include surgeons who specialize in specific types of cancer surgeries such as breast, colo-rectal, hepatobiliary and pancreatic, urological, skin and melanoma, lung and esophageal. They are experienced in minimally invasive procedures, robotics, sentinel node and reconstructive surgery. Our surgeons are active participants in the weekly oncology conferences.
Led by nationally recognized, board-certified physicians, the radiation oncology team has extensive experience treating cancer patients. Our specialists are experts in quality control, patient safety and treatment validation. The radiation oncologists will discuss in detail the different advanced technology options available, including the Accuray CyberKnife® M6™ System, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), respiratory gating, and therapshere. The team will address how radiation therapy can play a role in treatment and contribute to the cure of your cancer.
Cancer-specific tumor boards are conducted weekly at the Lynn Cancer Institute. In this conference setting, the patient’s case, imaging and test results are reviewed and discussed. This collaboration results in a comprehensive, detailed case by multiple physician experts including subspecialized radiologists and pathologists. The type of treatment sequencing, clinical trial options, patient health and goals are all integrated into recommendations.
The Lynn Cancer Institute’s multimodality medical oncologists are specialty-trained in specific cancer sites such as breast, colo-rectal, lung, skin, prostate and pancreas. They are active participants in clinical trials. They offer their patients the newest and most innovative treatment approaches available, including targeted molecular treatments, biological treatments and chemotherapy. All of our medical oncologists come from university-based cancer programs and continue to teach, conduct clinical trials and work closely with major academic cancer institutions.
Our experienced team of diagnostic radiologists and interventionalists are recognized around the world for their skills and developing advances in imaging. LCI’s imaging technologies include PET/CT, ultrasound, big bore CT, fluroscopy and digital radiology. LCI radiologists frequently conduct educational sessions for physicians from around the world on new biopsy and imaging technologies.
Patients at the Lynn Cancer Institute benefit from the experience and expertise of our disease-specific pathologists to determine the most optimal treatment plan. Our pathologists use scientific applications to analyze blood, tissue and other samples to develop a comprehensive result. Their tests help to diagnose or rule out diseases, as well as monitor the progression or regression of diseases. Pathologists work in unison with our Boca Regional primary care physicians, surgeons and radiologists to collectively develop an approach to treatment.
It has become increasingly clear that genetics play an important role in the development of many cancers. When applicable, a genetic specialist will review the family history of patients seen in the MMCs. Formal genetic counseling and testing is offered to patients when appropriate. One of the many issues that worry nearly every newly diagnosed cancer patient is, “How will this affect my family members?” This question, as well as the important issue of how genetics may impact treatment management and future cancer prevention, is addressed by a team specializing in medical genetics.
Nutrition is a vital module of our program. Our clinical registered dietitian is a certified specialist in oncology nutrition and is a member of our multidisciplinary team. The dietitian attends the oncology conferences and is available for one-on-one consultations at any point throughout the treatment process. Educational nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations are held monthly at the Institute.
Attending to every aspect of a cancer patient’s care is central to the MMC philosophy. Our psychosocial team is comprised of board-certified, oncology-dedicated, master’s level social workers. These specialized counselors have many years of expertise in helping patients and their families cope with the complex social and psychological issues that may arise from a diagnosis and treatment. The team also serves as the liaison, connecting patients and their families to the different resources and agencies available to assist them.
Clinical trials are essential to ensuring that we offer the very best treatment options available. That is why the Institute offers patients access to the latest clinical trials. The multimodality team will review every patient for the opportunity to be a participant in one of the dozens of national clinical trials available to individuals with cancer.
Coordinating the cancer process is often complex and confusing. Nurse navigators are a patient’s point person at the MMC. They will assist you through the process, coordinating and connecting all aspects of your cancer treatment, including diagnosis, education about your cancer and expediting appointments.
What do I need to bring to the MMC?
A nurse navigator will determine what records you need to have at the clinic in advance of your appointment. These are extremely important to the physicians to fully assess and render a comprehensive opinion.
How do I get referred to the MMC?
You may be referred by your surgeon or any physician involved in your care or you may call as a self-referral. The MMC coordinator will discuss with you the process for making an appointment, including whether you need a primary care physician referral, based upon your own insurance carrier policies.
How will I be billed for this appointment?
Each physician you see will bill you for the professional component of your appointment. The Hospital charges a separate facility fee. An administrative coordinator will work with you and your insurance provider to get all appropriate authorizations and referrals.
Who should come with me to the appointment?
The MMC appointment is a good time to bring family members or supportive friends who may want to ask questions or be a “second set of ears.” Appointment rooms can generally accommodate three to four people. However, if you need more space, it will be helpful to let the coordinator know you will be accompanied by a larger group.
Will I receive any treatment at this appointment?
No. This is a consultative appointment and there will not be treatment given at the time of the appointment. Occasionally, additional tests or imaging will be scheduled during the MMC visit.
Will the doctors at the clinic be the same doctors who treat me?
The primary purpose for the MMC is to develop a treatment recommendation. Ultimately, the decision as to who provides the actual treatment will be determined by you and your referring physician. The physicians who participate in the MMC do offer treatment and are accepting new patients.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.