Cristina P. Rodriguez, MD

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Associate Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Medical Oncology
“I’m committed to improving your health and providing the best functional outcome.”
— Dr. Rodriguez
Why do you practice oncology?

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.

What is your approach to treatment?

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.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Head and neck cancer, salivary gland cancer

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.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
University of the Philippines, Manila
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Hematology-Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2008, 2018, American Board of Internal Medicine


Clinical trials

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.

Study ID:
Radiation Therapy With Cisplatin, Docetaxel, or Cetuximab After Surgery in Treating Patients With Stage III-IV Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer
Complete title
Randomized Phase II/III Trial of Surgery and Postoperative Radiation Delivered with Concurrent Cisplatin versus Docetaxel versus Docetaxel and Cetuximab for High-Risk Squamous Cell Cancer of the Head and Neck
Study ID:
A Study of PRT543 in Participants With Advanced Solid Tumors and Hematologic Malignancies
Complete title
A Phase I, Open-Label, Multicenter, Dose Escalation, Dose Expansion Study of PRT543 in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors and Hematologic Malignancies
Study ID:
Radiation Therapy With Durvalumab or Cetuximab in Treating Patients With Locoregionally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Who Cannot Take Cisplatin
Complete title
Randomized Phase II/III Trial of Radiotherapy With Concurrent MEDI4736 (Durvalumab) vs. Radiotherapy With Concurrent Cetuximab in Patients With Stage III-IVB Head and Neck Cancer With a Contraindication to Cisplatin


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.

Late-stage head and neck cancer incidence continues to rise in US

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

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team 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 physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Team coordinator (TC)
Team coordinator (TC)
Your team coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.


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.

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