David Zhen, MD
I’ve always had a strong interest in biology and helping others in need. When I was a child, my grandfather was diagnosed with, and eventually passed from, advanced pancreatic cancer. Even at a young age, that experience left lasting memories and ultimately influenced my interest in cancer. In college, I found conducting cancer research intellectually stimulating. It gave me the ability to advance scientific knowledge that could lead to important discoveries for treating cancer patients. But what really solidified my passion for pursuing oncology as a career was the deep and long-term personal relationships I could develop with each patient. I felt then, and still do, that it’s quite unique and what is most rewarding about the field of oncology compared to other fields of medicine.
I strive to serve as an advocate for my patients, ensuring you understand your diagnosis and all your available treatment options. My goal is to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates and respects your values. I strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach to your care. I’m also involved in research that primarily focuses on investigating novel therapies for pancreatic cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers through clinical trials. My hope is that we’ll be able to develop better methods for earlier detection of cancer, more effective therapies, and strategies to better predict which treatments are more likely to work for an individual patient. This all leads to improved outcomes and also to avoiding side effects from therapies that are not likely to be as effective.
Specialty: Medical Oncology
I’m a medical oncologist and a UW assistant professor of medicine. I specialize in treating all types of gastrointestinal cancers, with a clinical interest in cancers of the stomach, esophagus and pancreas. I also conduct clinical trials that evaluate novel therapies, investigate strategies for the early detection of cancer and explore ways to better predict which therapies are likely to be beneficial for individual patients. My research is a collaborative endeavor among SCCA, the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) pose unique obstacles for oncologists and radiologists. Many people with this rare condition often do not experience symptoms. Others show signs similar to other diseases, making diagnosis difficult. And treatment requires carefully calibrated techniques to achieve the best possible outcomes.
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.
Our providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this Fred Hutch provider.
SCCA’s David Zhen, MD spoke with OncLive to discuss the need for novel therapies in poorly differentiated small-cell-type neuroendocrine tumors.
SCCA’s David Zhen, MD spoke with OncLive about advancements in the treatment of patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
Your care team
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.