Liver, Pancreas and Gallbladder Cancers Team

Tough Cancers

Cancers of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct can grow and spread quickly and they can be hard to treat. Often, these cancers require a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. The exact treatments you get and the order in which you get them make a profound difference in your ability to fight your cancer.

That’s why the Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Team at UNM Cancer Center uses a unique, multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care. We want to give you the best chance of beating your cancer.

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Lynn Saavedra, RN, BSN, OCN
Program Coordinator, 505-934-7481

"My goal is to be caring and compassionate while explaining treatment plans and educating patients."

To make an appointment, call us at 505-272-4946.

Our team delivers patient centered services because patients with HPB ailments and their families face profound burdens. We take pride in providing state of the art medicine, accessible to all and close to home. Safety and quality are our principal priorities.

– Itzhak Nir, MD


Meet the Liver, Pancreas and Gallbladder Team

The experts on our Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) team come from all over the world.
Each has broad and deep experience in treating cancers of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct.

Itzhak Nir, MD

Itzhak Nir, MD
Team Leader

Surgical Oncologists

Remove cancers from the hard-to-reach liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct. They perform advanced surgical procedures including open, laparoscopic and robotic surgical methods. Our team also uses unique recovery methods to make your recovery after surgery quicker. Some of our methods include treatments that lower the use of opioids for pain control.

Radiation Oncologists

Use radiation to attack cancer cells. They manage how much radiation to apply to the tumor and how to get the radiation to the tumor while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. Our team offers stereotactic body radiation, stereotactic radiosurgery and intensity modulated radiation therapy.

Interventional Radiologists

Specialize in procedures including biopsies, and stent and drain placement. They also offer specialized treatments to target certain types of liver tumors.

Medical Oncologists

Treat cancer using chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. They also manage many clinical trials and will oversee your care while you’re on a clinical trial.

Oncology Radiologist

Trained to interpret many different kinds of images, they find cancer and help the team to understand its impact.

GI Endoscopists

Gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopists specialize in diagnosing cancers of the intestine, pancreas, gallbladder and liver through endoscopy (using cameras to evaluate the stomach, intestine, pancreas and surrounding organs from the inside). They also perform many procedures, including biopsies and stent placement.

Gulshan Parasher, MD

Tarun Rustagi, MD


Hector Stephenson, PA

Hector Stephenson, PA

Suzanne Gagnon, CNP

Suzanne Gagnon, CNP

Jaymi McKay, CNP

Jaymi McKay CNP

Advanced Practice Providers

May give medications or injections, take medical histories, perform medical exams or perform certain medical procedures under the guidance of a physician.


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Jill Schulke, MSW, LCSW

Support Services

Helps you through one of the most difficult times of your life by offering resources for financial, social, and emotional support.

These pages guide you to support:
Patient & Family Support Services
Navigating Cancer Care
Community Resources

Lynn Saavedra

Nurse Navigator / Program Coordinator

Guides you in your treatment and serve as your regular point of contact.

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Shawnia Ryan, MS, CGC

Cancer Genetics Counselors

Help you learn about your cancer risk and will explain what genetic tests can and cannot tell you about your risk. The counseling may lead to genetic testing of the client or members of their family.

Ernestine Trujillo, MS, RD, LD

Ernestine Trujillo, MS, RD, LD

Cancer Nutritionists

Help you to feel better before, during and after your cancer treatment. They offer tips and recipes to get you the nutrients you need so that you feel better.