Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs)

Multidisciplinary Care (MDC) is considered best practice in the treatment, planning and care of people living with lung cancer. Research has proven that access to a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) decreases the time from diagnosis to treatment on average, from 29 to 11 days [1].

Multidisciplinary Teams

A Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) is a group of expert healthcare professionals from various specialties who meet to develop and review treatment plans for people living with cancer. This approach enabledifferent disciplines to communicate with one another and ensures consideration of all treatment types and options.  Treatment plans are collaboratively developed and take into consideration your personal preferences along with your individual supportive care needs. The treatment plan is discussed with you and then shared with youGP. 

The benefits for patients include [1]:

  • Increased survival for patients managed by an MDT
  • Shorter timeframes from diagnosis to treatment 
  • Greater likelihood of receiving care in accordance with clinical practice guidelines, including psychosocial support 
  • Increased access to information 
  • Improved satisfaction with treatment and care. 

Lung Cancer MDTs

Australian guidelines highlight the need for rapid referral of patients with suspected or proven lung cancer to a hospital and specialist linked with a Lung Cancer MDT service.  The types of health professionals involved in treatment planning as part of a Lung Cancer MDT include: 

Core team members: 

  • Respiratory Medicine 
  • Thoracic Surgery 
  • Medical Oncology 
  • Radiation Oncology 
  • Pathology 
  • Radiology 
  • Nurse Specialist 
  • Palliative care. 

Other team members: 

  • Nuclear medicine 
  • Social work 
  • Physiotherapy 
  • Psychiatry/Psychology 
  • Dietetics 
  • Occupational Therapy. 

The team should also include an expert in providing culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Connecting with an MDT

To connect with a Lung Cancer MDT service, your GP or medical practitioner will need to send a referral letter to a lung cancer specialist, affiliated with a Lung Cancer MDT.   

 Lung Cancer MDTs can be located through Lung Foundation Australia’s Lung Cancer MDT directory, an online tool which provides the location of Lung Cancer MDTs throughout Australia.   The directory can be searched by location or by state/territory and a map function is also available.  Click here to access the directory. 

 If may be helpful to locate the MDT services in your area to help aid the referral process with your GP or medical practitioner. If you are unable to find a location, speak with your lung cancer specialist about alternative options such as remote services via telephone or video conference.  

 In order for your doctor trefer you to an MDT servicethey may need to contact the MDT coordinator to ask which lung cancer specialists are registered with the MDT.  They will then be guided through the referral process to an active member of the MDT.  

 If you live in NSW or ACT, you can search for lung cancer specialists affiliated with Lung Cancer MDTs via the NSW government site “Canrefer.  This website can be accessed here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I know if my case is being discussed by an MDT?

    If you are unsure whether your lung cancer has been discussed at an MDT, it is important to discuss with your lung cancer specialist.  

  • Will I attend an MDT meeting about my condition?

    It’s uncommon for people living with lung cancer to attend the MDT meetingYour lung cancer specialist will discuss your case, on your behalf, at the meeting.  

  • How often will MDTs review my case?

    Each case will be discussed at an MDT meeting initially, to confirm diagnosis, staging and plan treatment.  It may also be discussed during the treatment phase if your treatment plan needs to be reviewed, due to a change in your condition.    

  • What do I do if there isn’t an MDT at my local hospital?

    If there is no MDT located near you, it is important to ask your lung cancer specialist if they have remote access to an MDT via other platforms, such as telehealth services.     

  • Further Questions?

    Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Centre team are available to provide trusted guidance and practical tips, and to connect you with resources and support services to help you navigate this time.  You can reach our team during business hours via free call 1800 654 301 or book a call here. 

[1] Lung Foundation Australia, Making Lung Cancer a Fair Fight: A Blueprint for Reform (2018)