Evan Y. Yu, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Consortium
Scientific understanding and science-based treatments are important, but there’s so much more to treating cancer.”
How do you combine being a scientist and physician?
I always had a scientific bent and wanted to be a physician. The summer after my first year of med school, I worked with a urologist and met men being treated for prostate cancer. The patients, who were grappling with their diagnosis and considering their options, inspired me to specialize in oncology. I felt deep respect and compassion for those undergoing cancer treatment, but that really deepened once my father developed bladder cancer. Before my father’s illness, I was very much a molecular scientist. But having someone close to me get cancer made me think about the disease more holistically, rather than only as a ball of abnormal cells or a sample in a tissue culture dish. Now, I find myself dedicated to strengthening the links between clinical care and lab research so that the prognosis for patients only gets better and better. Today, I try to meld the clinical care and the biology. I’m passionate about searching for the next wave of cancer treatments — targeted agents with greater cancer specificity and fewer side effects for you.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I’m a medical oncologist who specializes in genitourinary oncology — treating patients with prostate, bladder and testicular cancers. Since 2004, I’ve been taking part in innovative cancer research here at SCCA. I work as the director of SCCA’s Prostate Cancer Clinical Research Group and am a member of the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research, a collaboration between Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine. We strive to understand the causes of prostate cancer and its progression, develop new prevention strategies, devise innovative diagnostics and improve survival and quality of life.
One of my areas of research is focused on developing new imaging compounds for use in PET scans that are easier to use and more likely to detect cancers. My other research interests include cancer treatment-induced bone loss, bone metastases, bone biomarkers, molecular imaging of bone, novel therapeutics and new immunotherapeutic approaches.
What do you uniquely bring to patients?
I plant myself directly on the line between the laboratory and the clinic and engage both sides to develop a personalized approach to a selection of novel therapies. Your medical care needs to be built on a foundation of science and education, but I also bring an added dimension to my job by understanding biologic mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance. It’s really about working with you as a whole person, not just your cancer. I also recognize the importance of your relationship with your circle of loved ones. Oncology gives doctors a rare opportunity to connect deeply with families — from the outset of treatment through the course of the disease, sometimes over several years. I value the chance to get to know you and your family and will work intensively with you over time.