Evan Ya-Wen Yu, MD
Dr. Evan Ya-Wen Yu is a medical oncologist who treats prostate, bladder, and testicular cancer. He’s passionate about searching for the next wave of cancer treatments—targeted agents with greater cancer specificity and fewer side effects.
His respect and compassion for people undergoing cancer treatment were already in place but deepened when his father developed bladder cancer. Now he’s dedicated to strengthening the links between clinical care and laboratory research so the prognosis for patients gets better and better.
“I always wanted to be a physician,” says Yu, a Washington native who completed medical school at the University of Washington in 1998. During the summer after his first year of medical school, Yu worked with a urologist and met men being treated for prostate cancer. The patients, grappling with their diagnosis and considering their options, inspired him to specialize in oncology.
“The patients were figuring out the really important things in life at that point,” he explains, re-evaluating their priorities in light of their disease and treatment. “Even though there was so much trauma going on in their life, they had so much calmness and tranquility,” he recalls.
After medical school, Yu spent about seven years in the Boston area doing both clinical and research work. In October 2004, Yu returned to Seattle to join SCCA where he gained a unique opportunity to take part in innovative cancer research.
Before his father’s illness, Yu was very much a molecular scientist, he says. But having someone close to him get cancer made him think about the disease more holistically, rather than only as a ball of abnormal cells or a sample in a tissue culture dish. Scientific understanding and science-based treatments are important, of course, says Yu, who still has a strong scientific bent. But there’s so much more to treating cancer than that.
“At the end of the day,” he says, “it’s really about the patient as a whole.”
Even before his experience with his own father’s disease, Yu recognized the importance of a patient’s circle of loved ones.
“It wasn’t just the patients themselves that I connected with but the families too,” he says.
Oncology gives doctors a rare opportunity to connect deeply with families—from the outset of treatment, through the course of the disease, sometimes over several years. He values the chance to get to know people and work intensively with them over time. Even after the death of a patient, Yu still keeps in touch with some families, he says.
For some researchers, translational research means laboring in a laboratory, sometimes for years, investigating the mechanisms of cancer growth or developing a particular drug that shows promise. For Yu, it means planting himself directly on the line between the laboratory and the clinic and engaging both sides in the search.
“Science is actually very different from medicine,” explains Yu, who conducted basic laboratory research during his years in Boston. “I’m trying to really meld the biology and the clinical care.”
Evan Ya-Wen Yu, MDDr. Yu, a medical oncologist, treats prostate, bladder and testicular cancer, and is passionate about providing a personalized medicinal approach to a selection of novel therapies as well as understanding biologic mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance.
- Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Associate Member; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Assistant Fellowship Director, Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Training Program, University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Clinical Trials Core Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Medical Oncology, Translational Research, Novel molecular targeted agents, Biomarkers, Imaging (PET scans, MRI), Bone health
Education And Training
- University of Washington School of Medicine, 1998
- Residency: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Internal Medicine, 2000-2001
- Fellowships: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Hematology-Oncology, 2001-2004
For more information about Dr. Evan Ya-Wen Yu's clinical and research expertise, visit his UW Medicine profile.
- OGX-427 Plus Chemotherapy for Advanced Bladder Cancer (UW11028)
- Ramucirumab or IMC-18F1 With Docetaxel or Docetaxel Alone Bladder,Urethra, Ureter, or Renal Pelvis Carcinoma
- Phenelzine Sulfate and Docetaxel Post First-Line Docetaxel Therapy