Jennifer M. Specht, MD

Physician
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Associate Professor, Division of Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“My job is to make you an expert in this field, sharing as much information as you would like so that you feel confident and equipped to manage your journey.”
— Dr. Specht
What do you enjoy about working with patients who have breast cancer?

I feel privileged to spend time with my patients, many of whom do extraordinarily well because we’ve made a lot of advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. I continue to be inspired by the young women I care for, who have had their life plans completely altered by a diagnosis and yet who manage the upheaval with grace, strength and dignity. One of the most rewarding parts of my job are the relationships I develop with patients and families over time. I see them as heroes who are truly focused on what’s important in life. 

What do you want patients to know about working with you?

As our scientific understanding of breast cancer advances, treatment options have become increasingly complex. My job is to make you an expert in this field, sharing as much information as you would like so that you feel confident and equipped to manage your journey. I also support participation in well-designed clinical trials to help answer important questions about breast cancer, which ultimately leads to better health and longer lives for patients. 

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Breast cancers

Breast cancer

I am a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in caring for patients with all stages of breast cancer. My expertise includes treating women with triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that does not respond to hormonal medications. At SCCA, I see patients in the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic and lead the Phase 1 Breast Cancer Program, which tests the safety and efficacy of novel breast cancer therapies.

I am also a clinical trialist; my research interests include breast cancer genetics, immunotherapy and the use of molecular imaging to better understand the biology of breast cancer. Currently, I serve as the primary investigator for the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium’s (TBCRC) clinical site at the University of Washington. TBCRC is a group of academic institutions that conduct collaborative translational research to discover new treatment strategies for breast cancer. 

Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Medical oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist is often the main health care provider for someone who has cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
University of Washington
Medical Degree
University of Washington School of Medicine
Residency
University of Washington, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
University of Washington, Medical Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2004, 2017, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English

Stories and testimonials

Highlights from the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Highlights from the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Chemotherapy is not necessary for postmenopausal women with node-positive, ER+, HER- breast cancer and a low recurrence score, according to a recently published peer-reviewed study (RxPONDER). The study was discussed in December at the 44th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), along with other developments in breast cancer research. 

'Living my life like I don’t have cancer:' Despite a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, Maria Pearson continues her barrel racing passion
'Living my life like I don’t have cancer:' Despite a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, Maria Pearson continues her barrel racing passion

In the spring of 2012, Maria Pearson was grooming one of her horses when he tossed his head to dispel flies and knocked Pearson in the chest, causing her left breast to swell up. A few months later, she fell off that same horse, broke her hand and tore her rotator cuff. It was a rough few months, to say the least.

“Dr. Specht is a brilliant, dedicated physician who cares deeply and compassionately about her patients. She is thoughtful, tireless and laser-focused on providing the very best, comprehensive care.”
— Angela Larsh, MSN, ARNP
“I trusted Dr. Specht to guide me through my own experience with breast cancer. She is very caring, thoughtful and has an inherent ability to put people at ease. ”
— Bo Yu, MD, MS

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.

Publications

Many of our SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.

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.
Annie  Alidina, ARNP
Annie Alidina, ARNP
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Advanced Practice Provider
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care 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.

For providers