David M. Hockenbery, MD

David M. Hockenbery, MD

Physician
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Professor, Division of Gastroenterology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Professor, Clinical Research Division; Professor, Human Biology Division; Professor, Public Health Sciences Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Gastroenterology
“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. ”
— Dr. Hockenbery
Why do you practice gastroenterology in a cancer center?

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.  

What informs your approach to care?

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. 

Provider background

Specialty: Gastroenterology

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, GI problems associated with cancer and cancer treatment

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.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Washington University School of Medicine
Residency
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
Washington University School of Medicine, Gastroenterology/Hepatology
Board Certification
Internal Medicine, 1985; Gastroenterology, 1989, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English

Research

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:
Complete title
Features of Gut Microbiome Promoting Colorectal Cancers in Different Risk Groups
Study ID:
Complete title
Chart Reviews for Medical and Surgical Complications Associated with Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
Study ID:
Complete title
Chart Reviews for Medical and Surgical Complications Associated with Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

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.
William M. Grady, MD
William M. Grady, MD
Physician
Gastroenterology
Teresa A. Brentnall, MD
Teresa A. Brentnall, MD
Physician
Gastroenterology
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.

Insurance

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.