Abstract Greater public understanding, preventionoriented health behaviors, participation in screening programs, and more effective methods of screening are needed to achieve the overall goal of reducing cancer incidence in the United States. Each of these areas requires further study to allow us as health professionals to know how to improve current approaches and measure effectiveness. Human and financial resources are becoming more limited, so that creative approaches to these problems will truly be the challenge of the future. Gastrointestinal cancers are being treated with more extensive procedures to achieve greater therapeutic results. The nursing care of patients with GI cancer is complex and requires considerable skill, sensitivity, and time. Nurses need to develop new strategies to care for and teach GI cancer patients in an era of economic constraint and nursing shortages. While some may view the current health care situation as a threat, individuals who see the challenge and accept it will offer us new directions in cancer care.