The tumor board plays a critical role in multidisciplinary cancer care at UCSF. At tumor board conferences, the cases of individual cancer patients are thoroughly reviewed by a team of physicians and other health professionals from different specialties and with unique perspectives.
A diagnostic radiologist is generally in attendance to review all imaging and scans of the patient. These are projected onto a screen to allow better visual presentation to tumor-board participants. A pathologist reviews pathologic samples, including cytology, using a projection microscope. The core team of cancer specialists including surgeons (also referred to as surgical oncologists), medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurse practitioners, and nurses. Other specialists, including pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, and nuclear medicine physicians attend as required.
Tumor Board conferences focus on complex cases, where the diagnosis and course of treatment are not clear cut. Tumor characteristics, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, treatment plans, and enrollment in a clinical trial are issues commonly discussed. The tumor board benefits patients by offering a comprehensive, coordinated approach to cancer care for even the most difficult of cases.