What should newly diagnosed gastric cancer patients know about their care? Expert Dr. Matthew Strickland discusses essential members of the gastric cancer care team.
Dr. Matthew Strickland is a medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn more about Dr. Strickland.
What advice would you give people who have recently been diagnosed with gastric cancer?
Dr. Matthew Strickland:
I really appreciate that question.
Even though I spend all of my day job taking care of patients with these cancers, I’m never really there with them when they get the news. Often, they’re told by their primary care physician or the gastroenterologist that may have done the scope that led to the original diagnosis. I would say it’s the minority of time where I’m breaking the news. I think that there’s a lot of things to say to the patient.
But one of the most important things I would want patients to know is that there is a whole army of people that are ready to help you if you get this scary news. It certainly doesn’t seem like that at first, and you don’t know who to call. But if you can call your closest cancer center and try to get into what we call a multidisciplinary meeting – what that means is you might see a medical oncologist, a surgeon, perhaps a radiation oncologist.
The point here is that as soon as you pick up the phone and get that appointment, the machinery is going to start working for you, so we can help you.