Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD
I grew up in the Philippines with a large extended family that includes many physicians. My uncle was an ear, nose and throat physician who practiced in rural Mindanao. His clinic was located in his house and open at all hours to members of his local community, who often had very limited resources. I always admired his devotion to his profession and wanted to work in a similar field. During my medical training, I was fortunate to work with many great physicians who took the time to mentor me. Through them, I came to appreciate treating cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract and helping patients preserve both function and quality of life.
I work as part of a multidisciplinary care team, which brings together the expertise of various specialists, and we are committed to a dual challenge — maximizing the success of your cancer treatment while also sustaining your quality of life. My role is to outline your treatment options using the best available evidence and technology and to help guide decision-making based on your own goals and values. My clinical expertise is informed by my experience overseeing and running clinical trials and collaborating with my research colleagues.
Specialty: Medical Oncology
I am a medical oncologist who specializes in treating patients with head and neck cancer and salivary gland cancer. My expertise also includes treating thyroid and lung cancers. While there have been significant advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of these diseases, there are certain ethnic and demographic groups who continue to experience poor outcomes. These groups tend to have limited access to care and may experience exposure to risk factors — such as tobacco, alcohol and human papillomavirus (HPV) infections — that can contribute to cancer. My hope is that disparities in cancer care will be alleviated in my lifetime through public awareness and collaborative efforts between the scientific community and health policymakers.
In addition to caring for patients at SCCA and the University of Washington, I design and conduct clinical trials. One area of focus is incorporating targeted therapies into current treatment standards for locally advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. I am also interested in improving functional and treatment outcomes for locally advanced head and neck malignancies as well as salivary gland tumors. Outside of research, I am part of the clinical practice guidelines panels for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA 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 SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.
SCCA providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this SCCA provider.
SCCA’s Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD, provided perspective on a study showing the growing rate of incidence of head and neck cancers in the U.S.
Your care team
SCCA 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.