Hannah M. Linden, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
There are a lot of breast cancer therapies that work well — and they keep getting better. There’s a high chance for a cure, and even if we can’t cure you, we can often treat you. That’s why breast cancer care is a very uplifting field.”
What makes breast cancer care meaningful for you?
I did a fellowship at the University of Washington, where I spent a lot of time in the lab cloning and folding proteins. It was interesting and I liked the idea of moving the science forward, but my work didn’t directly impact patients. I like taking care of people, so I realized that spending my days with DNA and petri dishes wasn’t going to be satisfying in the long run. Eventually, I was able to move from the lab into more of a translational research role with breast cancer, where I could bring the latest findings and studies to patients while incorporating their needs and perspectives into research. I bridge the gap between basic science and clinical practice, and that’s much more fun for me. What I also enjoy about my specialty is that there are a lot of breast cancer therapies that work well — and they keep getting better. There’s a high chance for a cure, and even if we can’t cure you, we can often treat you. That’s why breast cancer care is a very uplifting field.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a medical oncologist who treats women and men with all stages and types of breast cancer. My clinical practice spans SCCA and Harborview Medical Center, and I help patients across both organizations access clinical trials. One of my areas of expertise is endocrine therapy, which involves manipulating hormones to stop or slow the growth of tumors.
My research is focused on new breast cancer therapies and molecular imaging techniques. For example, one national trial uses a radiolabeled tracer to predict how patients with metastatic breast cancer will respond to estrogen-blocking therapy (a form of endocrine therapy), which can ultimately inform treatment decision-making. Another area of interest is helping underserved populations access high-quality cancer care. In addition to working with patients and conducting research, I’m also active in education, serving as the associate program director of the Medical Oncology and Hematology Fellowship Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine.
How do you like to work with patients?
My job is to scratch my head and think about how I can do the best for you as an individual, taking into account your goals and concerns and what the research says. My relationships with patients are longitudinal; I don’t just stamp you with a treatment pathway and send you through the SCCA system. We maintain an ongoing dialogue about your care so that we can modify the plan if a bothersome side effect shows up or if treatment is interfering with some aspect of your life. Above all, I see myself as an advocate to help you access the cancer therapies, clinical trials and supportive care that you need.