Needed: Multidisciplinary Squamous Cell Carcinoma Teams
Most cancer centers now have multidisciplinary melanoma teams and fantastic interdisciplinary head and neck cancer teams. But few centers have formal, organized multi-specialty teams to manage the care of patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. As a result, these patients are often shuttled between dermatology and head and neck cancer practices—and the techniques used to manage advanced head and neck skin cancers are quite different from traditional treatments for localized skin cancer and tongue or tonsil cancers.
“We need multidisciplinary teams that are informed and dedicated to this patient population,” said Kevin Emerick, MD, co-director of the Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic and Program at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston.
If your institution or hospital doesn’t yet have a multidisciplinary team to manage locally advanced skin cancers, build connections with your colleagues in dermatology, plastic surgery, general surgery, surgical oncology, head and neck surgical oncology, and facial plastics. Patient involvement is also crucial; consider soliciting patient input and formally appointing patient representatives to steering committees, as appropriate.