Cancer Specialist Teams Are Changing the Game
Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center welcomes one of our newest colorectal surgeons, Nathan Hite, M.D. He joins an esteemed group of cancer specialists who collaborate to create and identify new ways to enhance outcomes. Dr. Hite serves on the colorectal multidisciplinary care team and the rectal multidisciplinary team-two initiatives ensuring the highest level of care for individuals with these diagnoses. We recently spoke to him about participating in these groups and why they are key to patient outcomes.
As a member of a several multidisciplinary care teams at the Cancer Center, can you explain what a multidisciplinary care team is?
Your best chance at beating cancer is at a comprehensive cancer center, like Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. A multidisciplinary care team features specialists working together in the same facility where state-of-the-art cancer treatment is given, and relevant research is conducted. These experts combine their skill sets to tackle and treat complex and challenging diseases. These teams meet regularly to discuss our work with each other so that each patient has a care plan that is best suited to their individual needs.
Who makes up a multidisciplinary care team?
Our multidisciplinary care teams include specialists from each diagnostic, treatment and supportive care discipline including surgery, hematology and medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, radiology, oncology, patient navigation clinical research, nursing, supportive care, and, when appropriate, genetics.
What are the benefits for patients to be treated at a Cancer Center using a multidisciplinary care team approach?
The team of experts are designed and staffed specifically to ensure that patients’ cancer diagnosis and treatment is right the first time. There is also the benefit of shorter timeframes from diagnosis to treatment with a group of specialists is involved. Data shows that patients have increased access to information and that leads to improved satisfaction with their treatment and care.
What are some advanced treatments the teams are focusing on?
In the past, surgeons made large incisions in skin and muscle so that they could directly see and work on the area of concern. Today, we are performing many colorectal procedures using minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery. This sophisticated robotic platform helps us avoid surrounding tissue to minimize and control bleeding, while its 3D vision shows more details for better patient outcomes.
We have also implemented an ERAS (enhanced recovery after surgery) protocol for colorectal surgery. By using ERAS, we are able to block pain receptors before surgery and in the operating rooms so patients wake up with less pain. This helps cut down on the use of narcotics, which allows the patient to recover quick and be less lethargic.
Contact Dr. Hite
Dr. Hite earned his medical degree from the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed an internship at Carilion Clinic, a residency at LSU in general surgery, research at Ochsner Clinic and a fellowship at the Swedish Colon and Rectal Clinic. He is board certified in general surgery and specializes in colorectal surgery.