Chaitra S. Ujjani, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Oncology is the epitome of understanding how to practice the art of medicine.”
Why do you practice oncology?
At the age of 17, I knew that I was going to be a doctor. I have never once regretted that decision. As an oncologist, I find it satisfying to work with patients to achieve a common goal. The science behind different forms of cancer is also fascinating — I want to know what’s driving them. There’s a creativity to oncology right now, in trying to figure out how to bring new therapies together and how to integrate them with current treatment approaches. I’m invested in trying to understand that so I can improve outcomes for you. It’s this excitement that brings me to work every day.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). These cancers affect white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection. For more than a decade, I’ve designed and led multi-center clinical trials that test new drug combinations for treating these diseases, with the goals of more precisely targeting cancer while decreasing the intensity of side effects. I’m also interested in immunotherapy, how patients’ own immune cells can be extracted and engineered to attack their cancer. In addition to patient care and research, I am an active member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and I’ve presented my research at the annual conference of the American Society of Hematology.
What do you want patients to know about working with you?
Oncology is an art in the sense that I can’t just look at the data and make a decision about what’s best for you. There are many nuances to consider, not only the biology of your disease but also you as the patient: your personal goals, your living situation, your fitness level and your age, just to name a few. When it comes to blood cancers, there are so many more treatment combinations available than there used to be, which is great, but it also means that the way forward isn’t simple. Together, we take in all of the information and decide on the best approach.
University of Alabama, Birmingham
University of Alabama School of Medicine
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Internal Medicine
Georgetown University Hospital, Hematology-Oncology
Oncology, 2011; Hematology, 2011, American Board of Internal Medicine