Unrivalled specialist teams
Watch how The Royal Marsden multidisciplinary team works together to benefit patients like Jenny, a young woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
What is a multidisciplinary team meeting?
The Royal Marsden’s multidisciplinary teams (MDT) develop personalised treatment plans for each patient, improving their experience and quality of care. Up to 35 specialists join the weekly MDT meetings, including surgeons, clinical and medical oncologists, radiotherapists, pathologists, radiologists, nurses and allied health professionals. Progress is regularly reviewed by the MDT to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care at every stage of the treatment.
Breadth of expertise
Cancer is a complex disease that is unique to every individual. To provide optimum care, a wide range of experts are needed. The MDT brings together all of these experts in one room, so that they can all input into the patients' treatment plans.
There is increasing focus on the importance of governance around the clinical decisions made in the private sector. The MDT approach ensures that the decisions made by individuals are supported by the wider team, reducing the chance of mistakes and ensuring that all treatment options are considered.
In November 2012, Jenny went to her doctor for a routine appointment and mentioned that she had noticed some irregular bleeding. A smear test showed evidence of abnormal cells and a biopsy confirmed that - at age 27 - Jenny had cervical cancer.
Jenny was referred to Professor Shepherd and Mr John Butler at The Royal Marsden. They recommended an examination under anaesthetic, and this showed that the tumour was larger than first thought. The team then performed another, deeper biopsy.
The most likely treatment in this scenario would be a radical hysterectomy. This would have made Jenny infertile. Whilst her first priority was to survive the cancer, Jenny also hoped to have a family one day.
Mr Butler called Jenny to tell her the new biopsy showed that only part of the tumour was cancerous, and that the multidisciplinary team were due to discuss her treatment options.
Just before Christmas, Jenny was informed that the team recommended a procedure called radical trachelectomy. This would remove the cervix but leave the uterus in place. Jenny could then still have children, but birth would be via caesarean.
The trachelectomy was booked for February 2013. Two days before the operation, Jenny’s boyfriend Tim proposed and a wedding date was set for May 2014.
The trachelectomy was a success, and on Valentine’s Day 2013, Jenny was told that her lymph nodes were clear and all the cancer had been removed.
At a follow up appointment in the summer, Mr Butler advised Jenny that she could start trying to conceive as soon as she was ready. To Jenny and Tim’s surprise, they conceived quickly and Jenny was five months pregnant as they tied the knot.
Baby Ellen arrived in summer 2014 and nearly two years later, Jenny and Tim welcomed their second child Lucas to the family.
Jenny says of her experience, ‘My cancer diagnosis was totally unexpected and turned my life as I knew it upside down. Having children of my own was very nearly taken away but I will be forever grateful to the incredible Gynae team for all their hard work and seeing me through this journey. They have been my rock throughout and we have them to thank for our two beautiful children.’