Behind the scenes of a multi-disciplinary breast unit

Today’s column was sparked by what happened at 08:30pm on an evening in January. I happened to be getting a lift from Carol’s (Professor Benn) home. We had quite an early start to the day and had finished just before 07:00pm. Carol was meeting with two oncologists at their centre. As I waited I watched them, they didn’t rush or look at watches, but discussed what they needed to. I was full of admiration for the three of them, their true commitment and caring towards their patients and treatments were so obvious to me.

I often tell patients that we talk about them behind their backs. When a patient walks out of the breast care centre, they are ‘gone but never forgotten.’ Their file is not put away until their next visit, far from it in fact!

Choosing your breast cancer diagnosis to be managed within a multi-disciplinary unit means that your treatment is not the opinion of just one doctor but a team of specialists, putting their expertise and knowledge together to ensure patients have the best possible outcome for their disease. It’s all about individualised care.

Almost six years into working with the thirteen specialists at the Netcare Breast Unit, I have witnessed first-hand, the dedication and commitment of these doctors, (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that). I am still blown away by their ‘brain power’ at every meeting!

All the multi-disciplinary team doctors travel to congresses around the world, keeping up-to-date, presenting their own research, being involved and enabling access to the best possible treatments, writing and publishing articles and research in world journals.

So, remember, the next time YOUR ears are burning, there is a good chance it’s the doctors from the multi-disciplinary unit.

Written by Julie Belloni.

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