Top Doctor Top Doctor
The Top Doctor award is a peer-nominated award for providers who give exceptional care.

Carol vanHaelst, MD

Fred Hutch
Assistant Professor
University of Washington School of Medicine
UW Medicine
Medical Oncology
“What makes this practice unique are the close, long-term relationships that you develop with patients.”
— Dr. vanHaelst
What do you enjoy about practicing oncology?

What makes this practice unique are the close, long-term relationships that you develop with patients. Unlike an emergency room physician who may only see a person once, I see my patients frequently for months — sometimes years — as they move through treatment and into survivorship. I enjoy getting to know patients and families, talking in depth about their lives and diagnoses and helping them think through complex health situations so that they feel empowered to make their own decisions.

How do you approach care and treatment?

A new diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, so during our first appointment I focus on explaining the diagnosis and its implications, the research behind treatment recommendations and why I might recommend one approach over another. It’s also important to clarify what matters to you — your preferences and goals — before making any decisions. Many patients find it helpful to know that I stay involved throughout active treatment and even when it ends, providing monitoring and follow-up care. Although my goal for each patient is to provide the greatest chance for a cure or long-lasting remission, I also focus on minimizing the long-term impact of therapy on your well-being.

Remission A decrease in, or disappearance of, signs and symptoms of cancer. A decrease in, or disappearance of, signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some (but not all) signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Breast cancer, hematologic disorders, gastrointestinal cancers, gynecologic cancers

I am a board-certified hematologist-oncologist with more than 20 years of clinical experience. I specialize in the treatment of breast cancer; however, I also care for patients with benign and malignant blood disorders as well as gynecologic and gastrointestinal cancers.

My background includes working at the Mayo Clinic and co-founding a hematology-oncology practice in Kirkland, now known as SCCA at EvergreenHealth. In addition to caring for patients, I also conduct clinical trials investigating new drugs for early and advanced breast cancer. I am excited to be part of this exceptional and world-renowned cancer center.

Community Oncology

Our mission is to provide patients with the highest quality, personalized care closer to home. As part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, our community oncologists offer patients multidisciplinary tumor board opinions, clinical trails and expertise in treating a variety of cancers.

Benign Not cancer. Benign tumors may grow larger but do not spread to other parts of the body. Gastrointestinal Refers to the stomach and intestines. Also called GI. Hematologist A physician who specializes in diseases of the blood and blood-forming tissues.
Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Catholic University of Louvain
Waterbury Hospital, Internal Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Oncology; Boston University School of Medicine, Hematology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 1989; Hematology, 1988; Internal Medicine, 1985, American Board of Internal Medicine
Seattle Met's 2020 Top Doctors award

Dr. vanHaelst has been recognized as a Top Doctor year after year.


Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

Your care team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your doctor and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your doctor and serves as your scheduler.


Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.