Clinical Care

Clinical cancer care of patients at UMass is based on the collaboration of faculty specialists from a many different departments and disciplines who come together in specific disease-based groups to select, provide and evaluate treatments for particular cancer types, and manage individual patients through their journey with this disease. In most cases the function of these expert teams is operationally accomplished through weekly or biweekly multidisciplinary tumor conferences and clinics which also serve as incubators of expertise and education of students, residents and fellows. The specific composition of these teams varies considerably depending upon the different clinical needs of patients with different cancers. However, demographic, clinical, pathologic and outcome information for all cancer types is collected and collated in our COC accredited tumor registry (774-442-5966), co-registered with our tumor bank - when there are tissue specimens, and ultimately submitted to the NCDB. Most cancer clinical research and all treatment – related cancer clinical trials emanate from these multi disciplinary teams. Clinical cancer care is delivered at multiple sites across the UMass Medical Center Worcester campuses, and even across the entire UMass Health system – including satellite cancer centers at Health Alliance Hospital, Marlborough Hospital, Wing Memorial and Harrington Hospital which are also staffed by our faculty. However, the multidisciplinary teams and clinics are predominantly located in the Mary DeFeudis Cancer pavilion on the 5th floor of the ACC building on the main University campus and the Peter Levine Infusion center on the 6th floor of the ACC building. The Cancer Clinical Research Office is located on the 7th floor of the ACC building. Cancer care at UMass Medical Center is under the governance of the Cancer Committee which is constituted by the Medical Center Board of Trustees. Approximately 2800 new cancer patients are diagnosed and treated each year at the UMass Memorial Medical Center (well above the 75th percentile for academic cancer centers). The percentage of each type by disease group is represented in the adjacent pie chart.

Pie Chart

The UMass Cancer Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer with commendations for quality of care and excellence of organization. In 2013 UMass was rated a Best Hospital for Cancer care by US News and World Report and it is one of the very few US institutions accredited by ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) in Palliative Care. 

Clinical Care

Disease based Groups:

Breast Cancer

This group manages all tumors of the breast and is comprised of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and anatomic pathologists all specializing in breast disease. It also includes specialists in breast radiology (mammography and MRI), as well as genetic counselors, rehabilitation medicine, advanced practice nursing, psychology, social work and plastic surgeons. Additionally, there is monthly research conference attended by breast clinical faculty and scientific faculty in the breast section of the department of Cancer Biology and imaging research faculty from the Department of Radiology. Although patients are cared for based on algorithms of best available treatments that have been agreed upon by all members of this team, all newly diagnosed breast cancers are seen on a weekly "team day" by all the specialists they need to see in order to arrive at the best, most individualized treatment for them - in a one stop shopping consultative experience which is managed by a Breast Nurse Navigator in conjunction with whichever of the breast faculty first saw the patient. The Breast group also runs a weekly "High Risk" clinic for women who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Cutaneous Malignancies/Melanoma

This group sets treatment algorithms and reviews management of invasive melanomas, aggressive or advanced squamous cell cancers and basal cell cancers as well more unusual cutaneous tumors such as Merkel cell carcinoma, apocrine gland carcinomas and Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. This group is comprised of Moh’s dermatologic surgeons, dermatologic pathologists, plastic surgeons, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, dermatologists and medical oncologists.

Endocrine Tumors

This group reviews management of patients with tumors of the Thyroid, Parathyroid and Adrenal glands. This group is comprised of Medical Endocrinology, Cytologists, Surgical Oncology/Endocrinology, and Anatomic Pathology endocrine specialists.

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Lung Cancer

This group sets diagnostic and treatment algorithms for lung cancers and other lung and bronchial tumors. It is comprised of Medical Oncology, Thoracic surgeons, Radiation Oncologists, Chest and Body imagers and Radiology Interventionalists, Medical Pulmonologists and Pathologists. The group also includes advanced practice nurses, Palliative Care specialists, Rehab medicine, Psychology, genetics counselors, Social Work. Patients seen in this clinic are guided and managed through all the specialties by a lung cancer nurse navigator.

GU Cancer

This group sets the UMass treatment algorithms and reviews treatment plans and outcomes for tumors of the Kidney, Ureters, Bladder, Prostate, Urethra, male external genitalia, and testes. It is comprised of Urologists, Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Body Imaging specialists and Radiologic Interventionalists.

GI Cancer

This group manages tumors arising between the esophagus and anus including ; the Liver, Bile ducts and pancreas. It includes GIST tumors, neuroendocrine tumors, sarcomas and GI tract lymphomas in addition to more conventional histologies such as adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The expert team consists of a group of Medical Oncologists specializing in these tumors, as well as similar specialists in Anatomic Pathology, Radiation Oncology, GI Surgical Oncology, Colorectal, Thoracic and Transplant surgery. Additionally there are dedicated body imaging/GI Radiology specialists, Interventional Radiologists, expert GI Endoscopic Interventionalists, Palliative care specialists, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, genetic counselors, psychologists, and social workers. This group has also developed specific programs in:

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Gynecologic Cancer

This group manages patients with tumors of ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva. It is comprised of Radiation Oncologists, Radiologists, Pathologists and specialized Gynecologic oncologic surgeons who also administer chemotherapy as part of their specialty and who are Primary Investigators in national GOG (Gynecologic Oncology Group) clinical trials.

Head and Neck Cancer

This group oversees management and treatment of patients with tumors arising in the nasopharynx, oropharynx, larynx, salivary glands and skull base. It is comprised of oncologic surgeons from the Department of Otolaryngology, Radiation Oncologists, Medical Oncologists, Anatomic Pathologists Occupational therapy and Speech pathology.

Lymphoma/Leukemia

This group oversees the protocols and management of both the solid and liquid tumors arising from the hematopoietic system. This group is comprised primarily of faculty from the division of Medical Oncology, but includes Radiation Oncologists, Hematologic Pathologists, and has monthly conference with faculty from the Department of Cancer Biology who are engaged in hematologic stem cell research. This group includes the medical oncology faculty of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit which is located on the eighth floor of the University Hospital campus, and is regional resource recognized for excellence and accredited by FACT (Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy).

Soft Tissue and Osseous Sarcoma

This group oversees and reviews the treatment and management of patients with sarcomas and other tumors arising in the skeleton and soft tissues (tissues derived from embryonic mesenchyme –such as muscle, fat, fascia, nerve and vasculature). This multidisciplinary team is comprised of oncologic orthopedic surgery, spine surgery, Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Medical Oncology, specialized Musculoskeletal Radiology and Pathology, and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Neuro Oncology

This group oversees management and treatment of tumors arising in (or metastasizing to) the brain and spine. It is comprised of specialized faculty from the department of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Neuroradiology and Neuropathology. 

Pediatric Oncology

This group is led by a core group of pediatric Hematologists and Oncologists with support from Pediatric surgical specialists, radiation oncologists and radiologists. They have strong working relationships with Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.