Multi-Disciplinary Lung Cancer Management

Lung cancer is a major worldwide health burden, with high disease-related morbidity and mortality. Unlike other major cancers, there has been little improvement in lung cancer outcomes over the past few decades, and survival remains disturbingly low. Multidisciplinary care is the cornerstone of lung cancer treatment in the developed world, despite a relative lack of evidence that this model of care improves outcomes. In this article, the available literature concerning the impact of multidisciplinary care on key measures of lung cancer outcomes is reviewed. This includes the limited observational data supporting improved survival with multidisciplinary care. The impact of multidisciplinary care on other benchmark measures of quality lung cancer treatment is also examined, including staging accuracy, access to diagnostic investigations, improvements in clinical decision making, better utilization of radiotherapy and palliative care services, and improved quality of life for patients. Health service research suggests that multidisciplinary care improves care coordination, leading to a better patient experience, and reduces variation in care, a problem in lung cancer management that has been identified worldwide. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the multidisciplinary model of care overcomes barriers to treatment, promotes standardized treatment through adherence to guidelines, and allows audit of clinical services and for these reasons is more likely to provide quality care for lung cancer patients. While there is strengthening evidence suggesting that the multidisciplinary model of care contributes to improvements in lung cancer outcomes, more quality studies are needed.