Intended for healthcare professionals


Multidisciplinary team working in cancer: what is the evidence?

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 23 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c951

Multidisciplinary team working in cancer: what is the evidence?

I tend to agree with Cath Taylor and colleagues - there has been a lack of
evidence as to the benefit of MDT's in care, especially for cancer, with a
suspicion that it is a replay of the Emperor's clothes. However, there are some
intrinsic benefits, which are not unique to MDT's but work well within their
umbrellas. There is a tendency to rationalisation of care and bringing best
evidence care to the patient, allowing appropriate treatment to appropriate
patients. There is a stabilising influence of the majority, protecting patients from
flights of fancy with treatment. Research is facilitated by centralising care and
data recording to view effect in care. From the patient's point of view, it is
probably comforting to know that everyone is 'on their side' and pulling together
for their best outcome. On the other hand, it is an expensive se of resources and
even in the most democratic MDT, tyranny can occur. I support the need for
further research on the benefits or otherwise of MDT use.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

29 March 2010
Guy L Rees
Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon
Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide SA 5000 Australia