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Role of a neuro-radiologist in contemporary multi-disciplinary management of brain tumours

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Dr Sona Pungavakar, Senior Consultant Radiologist, spoke on the ‘Role of a neuro-radiologist in the contemporary multi-disciplinary management of brain tumours’ and the advantages of a multidisciplinary tumour board

By Tarannum Rana

On the second day at IRIA annual conclave, Dr Sona Pungavakar, Senior Consultant Radiologist, presented the Dr KM Rai oration on the topic ‘Role of a neuro-radiologist in the contemporary multi-disciplinary management of brain tumours’. Dr KM Rai is credited for resurrecting the IRIA post world war two.

Dr Pungavakar started her session by talking about a case involving a woman patient who had received intramuscular magnesium sulphate injections. Her treatment and diagnosis led to her research on magnesium deposition in the brain of pregnant patients administered intramuscular magnesium sulphate.

Later, she emphasised on the need for a multidisciplinary tumour board to provide a treatment where many doctors, experts in different specialities/disciplines, review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options of a patient. Also called a multidisciplinary opinion, such a board in cancer treatment may include a medical oncologist, a surgical oncologist, a radiation oncologist and a radiologist. To maximise patient care, a support team including an occupational therapist, speech therapist, molecular pathologist, a social worker, a palliative care personnel and nutritionist may also work closely with the specialists for a wholesome treatment plan.

Explaining to the audience about how such a ‘tumour board’ may function, Dr Pungavakar said that once the surgeon, the oncologist, the radiologist, the pathologist and the radiotherapist working in a team have collected the relevant data, they can send the inputs to the nurse navigator working on the case. Then, a collaborative discussion on the case can lead to an effective treatment plan. The board will then conduct follow-up discussions and reviews throughout the entirety of the treatment.

Further, speaking on the advantages of multidisciplinary tumour boards, Dr Pungavakar said that such an arrangement will ensure that the patient is not confused and a properly scheduled layout for treatment especially in a country like India. A multidisciplinary tumour board is now a prerequisite for acquiring cancer centre accreditation.

Dr Pungavakar also cited a report from an International ASCO survey on multidisciplinary tumour boards where over 96 per cent responders found them to be beneficial. She later discussed case studies explaining how a tumour board approaches a treatment plan for various cases.

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