David M. Hockenbery, MD
During my medical training at Johns Hopkins, I did clinical rotations in their oncology center on the bone marrow transplant unit. That experience made such an impression on me in terms of the level of multidisciplinary collaboration that was required and what the patients went through. Some of them were dealing with really difficult complications from their treatment, like graft-versus-host disease and liver disease, yet many of the patients went on to do well. Practicing gastroenterology in a cancer center is a natural fit for me. I enjoy working with patients to address digestive issues, such as nausea and diarrhea, that can interfere with their ability to do even the simple things in life that bring joy and satisfaction. I focus on building a foundation of trust with each patient so that together we can find solutions to their digestive troubles and achieve a good quality of life during treatment and into survivorship.
My mother was treated for ovarian cancer through SCCA, and one thing about her care I really appreciated was the way her doctor kept in frequent contact with us as a family throughout the whole process. That experience served as a reminder of how important it is to maintain open lines of communication — not only with patients, but their caregivers as well. My approach to care is based on being an attentive listener and understanding how a particular symptom or disease is affecting your ability to go about your daily life. While finding the right fix can take time, as well as trial and error, I’m committed to supporting you and helping you find relief.
I am a board-certified gastroenterologist who specializes in GI cancer prevention and the management of digestive issues associated with cancer and cancer treatment. These issues include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, diarrhea, among others, and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. I provide care for patients with all types of cancer as well as those who are no longer in active treatment.
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, I lead a lab that studies the biology and metabolism of cancer cells. We analyze how these cells break down nutrients and how they bypass the natural process of cell death (apoptosis) to grow unchecked in the body. One current project is better understanding the biological relationship between obesity and one’s risk for developing cancer. Another area of interest is studying the genetics of a transmissible cancer called devil facial tumor disease. This cancer afflicts Tasmanian devils; it is spread through biting and has nearly brought them to extinction. Our work supports conservation efforts and may shed light on new treatment targets for cancers in humans.
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.
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.