TheONC community editor Stephanie Wiseman took another trip to Duke University's Comprehensive Cancer Center to interview another member of the radiation oncology team. Our video series continues with Dr. David M. Brizel, MD, professor of radiation oncology.
Not only does Brizel specialize in radiation oncology, but he also takes a particular clinical and research interest in patients with head and neck cancer. He continues to study the biological behavior of these tumors, and he has led clinical trials focusing on the efficacy of head and neck cancer treatment.
Brizel explains the importance of having an oncology nurse on board with the head and neck cancer team. He states that the role of the nurse is critical, because of the daily involvement with the head and neck patient population. He refers to the nurse as an "early warning system," meaning these nurses are standing at the front lines and are generally the first team members to become aware of any issues these patients may have.
The head and neck cancer patients receive radiation treatment daily for weeks, sometimes concurrently with chemotherapy. With that being said, many of these patients require close observation for any issues that may arise. The radiation oncologist may not follow up with these patients daily, so it is imperative that the oncology nurse is following up daily. The nurse can then relay pertinent clinical information back to the radiation oncologist.
Brizel goes on to say that the team isn't whole without the oncology nurse, who provides the link between physician and patient.
Head and neck cancer patients require multidisciplinary care, whether it's psychosocial, nutritional, or ongoing pain management. The successful collaboration of the head and neck cancer team at Duke University is a great example of why it is so important to have key members in place to help manage these sometimes fragile patients.
Please take a look at our other videos with the radiation oncology nurse Betty Eckert, RN, and the nutrition specialist Brandy Terruso, RD, CSO.
For more information, please visit the Duke Cancer Institute's
Head and Neck Cancer Tests and Treatments page.