GI Cancer Treatment Is a Team Sport

The treatment of gastrointestinal cancers is a team sport, and nurses are key players.

The treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers is a team sport, and oncology nurses are key players, explained Craig Lustig, MPA, the associate director for the Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers.


The director of our center often talks about that cancer is a team sport. That's not meant to be flippant, it's a reality [because], in particular patients with GI cancer need to be evaluated, first and foremost, by a number of different providers, potentially to really best understand the disease and then develop the best approach.

I think then on the flip side, as the patient is going through treatment, the providers, the nurses, and, and maybe technicians, folks who you're interacting with on a day-to-day basis are incredibly valuable. They can provide information and tools to help you through that treatment experience. We know that many of the diseases and the GI cancers can be a very a heavy burden on the individual, on their functioning. So, the nurses that you may encounter in the clinic or in the infusion area can give you advice and tools because they have seen so many patients who are dealing with these things.

The other thing that's important is that treatments evolve, so the side effects, let's say for more common chemotherapy agents, we know are different than the newer immunotherapy agents. Understanding those differences is the kind of thing that a nurse who is really educated in that area can help you through. The guidance they're going to give you is about how you can best tolerate those treatments, and ultimately get the maximum benefit from them.

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