1. Sarisley, Christine MS, RN, CGRN

Article Content

Gastrointestinal Cancersedited by J. P. Griffin-Sobel (2007). Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society


Gastrointestinal Cancers is a softcover text that is part of a series of books published by the Oncology Nursing Society. The content of Gastrointestinal Cancers is focused on developing a theory-based understanding of malignant gastrointestinal (GI) diseases within a nursing framework. The text offers continuity in reading and expansion of the subject matter as each chapter is presented in the same way. Boldface subheadings are included within each chapter and contain detailed theory-based knowledge with information that is useful and practical. The foundation for understanding not only normal anatomy and physiology but also pathology in cancers is offered in an easily understood format.


This book was edited by Joyce P. Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, AOCN, APRN, BC. She wrote several chapters in the text, and her credentials and background have provided a solid base for understanding GI cancers, risk factors, therapies, and nursing care. Regardless of setting, this book is a useful tool for all nurses who interface with patients and families facing GI cancer. The first 8 chapters are 1-Overview of Gastrointestinal Cancers, 2-Anatomy and Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, 3-Biology, 4-Prevention and Screening, 5-Esophageal and Gastric Cancers, 6-Colorectal and Anal Cancers, 7-Nursing Care of Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancers, 8-Symptom Management of Gastrointestinal Cancers; and the final, summary chapter is 9-Evidence-Based Practice: Where We Are Now. Each chapter ends with a complete bibliography for additional reading and provides an opportunity for more detailed referenced reading.


Gastrointestinal Cancers is useful not only in providing a foundation for understanding GI cancers but also in serving as a stepping stone for understanding other dysfunctions of the GI tract through its chapter on anatomy and physiology. The content is detailed enough for both the novice and the advanced oncology and GI nurse, yet it is not overly detailed at the cellular level. The text could be useful in dovetailing with the SGNA Core Curriculum taken in preparation for the GI certification examination, in developing in-service programs, or in serving as a reliable reference for developing an orientation to GI or oncology nursing. This type of series text would be a useful model for developing a series of texts describing GI dysfunctions and illnesses other than cancers, also from a nursing perspective.


Of special interest in this text are the black-and-white figures that transfer valuable information such as staging, colon carcinogenesis and the effects of chemopreventative agents, anatomic landmarks, and surgical procedures. They are easily read and understood and often give a 3D visual. In addition to these figures, there are numerous tables that summarize useful information related to staging, procedures, side effects of cancer surgery treatment that are site specific, and treatment. In addition, the position statements, which describe the role of the registered nurse, of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates for sedation during procedures is included. Also included is the Oncology Nursing Society position statement on prevention and early detection of cancers. This text presents valuable information relevant to GI and oncology nurses that articulates the theory of medicine with advanced nursing practice.