Interdisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic

Gastroenterologist Timothy Gardner, MD, wants to speed the treatment timeline for people newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Focus article photo

Gastroenterologists Timothy Gardnerand Stuart Gordon

"It's a difficult diagnosis to receive, and a complex disease to treat," Gardner says. Because it is often diagnosed when the disease is advanced, a rapid start to effective treatment is critical. "Patients with pancreatic cancer shouldn't have to wait a long time to have their disease accurately diagnosed and staged. We want to start patients quickly on the very best treatment available for their disease."

Along with Stuart Gordon, MD, a gastroenterologist who also specializes in pancreatic disease, Dr. Gardner has teamed up with Norris Cotton Cancer Center oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists so that patients with pancreatic cancer can see the multiple experts involved in their treatment planning and delivery-in one location, at one coordinated visit. The result is the Interdisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic, which opened on January 13 and sees patients every Tuesday morning. At the new Clinic, patients meet with all their providers, gain a clear understanding of their treatment plan, and set a date for their first treatment or surgery.

Interdisciplinary Clinic specialists include medical oncologists J. Marc Pipas, Margit McGowan, and Greg Ripple; radiation oncologist Bassem Zaki; surgeons Richard Barth, John Sutton, and Thomas Colacchio; palliative care specialists Ira Byock and Margaret Bishop; and oncology dietitian Jeannine Mills. Cross-sectional radiologist Michael Tsapakos is also a critical part of the tumor board team. Gastroenterology nurse Marsha Call provides coordination and support for patients, and research nurse Robin Davis provides education and support for patients who choose to receive treatment as part of a clinical trial.

January 15, 2009