Dr. Gerstner completed his undergraduate education at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. He then attended medical school at Southern Illinois University, and completed his internal medicine residency at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and his Oncology/Hematology fellowship at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Dr. Gerstner joined ILCC in 2007. He is the Director of Stem Cell Transplant at UnityPoint Health – Methodist. He also serves as President of the ILCC Foundation, which works hard to provide clinical trial funding and support resources for patients in Central Illinois.
Areas of Interest:
Head & Neck Cancer
Hematologic Malignancies (leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myeloproliferative neoplasms)
Autologous Stem Cell Transplant Blood disorders (anemia, thrombocytopenia, blood clots)
When did you join Illinois CancerCare?
Hobbies / Interests:
Most of my free time is spent with my wife and four children. We love to travel and spend time with family and friends. My wife is active in the community and is teaching at her alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan. You’ll frequently find me at the movie theatre on weekends. I also enjoy running, soccer and tennis, as well as reading (sci-fi and fantasy) and watching my beloved Illini (though not always happily).
What medical change has impacted the field of cancer the most since you began practicing medicine?
The Increasing personalization of cancer care, relying on specific mutations found in your cancer cells (molecularly targeted therapy) and helping your own body to better fight cancer cells (immunotherapy).
Why did you choose your field?
Oncology is an exciting, ever-changing field that allows me to be on the cutting edge of scientific developments and provide up-to-date treatments for my patients while giving me the opportunity to form close interpersonal relationships.
Why did you choose Illinois to practice when you could have gone anywhere in the country?
My father started our group in 1979 with Dr. Cullinan and I grew up in the area. Moving back from Arizona after completing training was hard; however, the capabilities of all the medical providers in the area, an outstanding commitment to research, and subspecialty care at the level of some academic facilities, plus the proximity to family with a small-town atmosphere and kind people, all made my decision easy.
Do you have any advice to give patients after they have been diagnosed with cancer?
Being diagnosed with cancer is an extremely difficult and overwhelming situation. Each individual’s journey is very different and must be approached uniquely. That being said, there are others who have shared some of your experiences. I would urge you to use the various support systems available with our nurses and staff, as well as the many resources including counseling and support groups in our community, to help you through your journey.
8940 N. Wood Sage Rd | Peoria, IL 61615-7822 Phone: (309) 243-3000 or (866) 662-6564 Pharmacy Phone: (309) 243-3404