Jonathan G. Sham, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery, complex surgical oncology
It’s important for patients to know that they aren’t alone in their fight against cancer. I will be with you as a source of support throughout your treatment journey, whether it involves surgery or not.”
What personal experiences have informed your approach to care?
When I was in surgical training, a close family member had surgery to remove a large pelvic tumor, and going through that experience made me a better doctor. I know what it’s like to be on the other side — to get the imaging study, to wait for the results, to meet with the surgeon, to pace around the room as you wait for the operation to be over and to sit at your loved one’s bedside as they recover. There’s a lot of uncertainty and fear and anxiety, and I look for ways to help patients and families navigate these challenges. My personal experience also serves as a reminder of how important it is to be present with people in the moment. One of the most valuable gifts we, as physicians, can offer patients is our undivided attention.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I specialize in hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery. Known as HPB surgery, this area of medicine focuses on treating diseases of the liver, pancreas, bile ducts and gallbladder. I perform outpatient procedures as well as complex surgeries that require a hospital stay.
In addition to caring for patients, I’m also interested in developing novel biomaterials and targeted therapies to help improve outcomes after HPB surgery. Another goal of my research is to use targeted drug therapies to help control disease in patients who traditionally would not be eligible for surgical treatment. Sometimes this happens due to the location or size of a tumor or because it has spread to other parts of the body. The idea is that these drug therapies could help overcome obstacles to surgery, potentially making inoperable tumors operable.
What do patients appreciate about working with you?
I try to meet patients where they are in terms of what they understand about their disease and how they’re feeling about the situation. I strive to combine precision with compassion in order to support each person in identifying and fulfilling their treatment goals, whatever they may be. It’s important for patients to know that they aren’t alone in their fight against cancer. I will be with you as a source of support throughout your treatment journey, whether it involves surgery or not.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Washington, General Surgery
Johns Hopkins Hospital, Complex Surgical Oncology; Johns Hopkins Hospital, Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery
Complex Surgical Oncology, 2020, American Board of Surgery; General Surgery, 2018, American Board of Surgery