Kristine E. Calhoun, MD
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after I graduated from medical school. Her surgeon was warm and personable, always keeping me in the loop in addition to taking expert care of my mother. That surgeon opened my eyes to the challenging nature of breast cancer care — the unique combination of interpersonal and technical skill required. Ultimately, the experience shaped the way I relate to patients and their families; good communication is just as important as what happens in the operating room. Being on the other side of the doctor-patient experience has also made me more sensitive to the complicated emotions that come with a breast cancer diagnosis.
You now have more options than ever before when it comes to the surgical treatment of breast cancer. However, sometimes those options can seem overwhelming: Should I go with a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Do the lymph nodes under my arms need to be removed? What if I don’t want radiation? I’m more than just your surgeon — think of me as your guide to help you choose the approach that is most appropriate for your type of cancer and fits your personal preferences. It’s very important that you fully understand all the options and why I recommend one course of treatment over another, so I encourage you to ask questions every step of the way.
Breast cancers, breast health
In 2005, following a fellowship in breast surgical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, I was the first female breast surgeon to join Fred Hutch. Now I serve as the associate director of Fred Hutch’s Breast Health Clinic, where I treat patients with breast cancer and benign breast disease. In addition to publishing several scientific articles about breast cancer diagnosis and management, I have co-chaired the symposium “Challenges in the Management of Breast and Thoracic Malignancies.”
Training the surgeons of tomorrow is also one of my passions. As the director of medical student surgical education for UW Medicine’s Department of Surgery, I oversee the clerkship program, which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with patients.
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch 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.
Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.
Our providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this Fred Hutch provider.
SCCA’s Sara H. Javid, MD, Mika N. Sinanan, MD, PhD, Kristine E. Calhoun, MD, Brant K. Oelschlager, MD, FACS, and David R. Byrd, MD, were named to Seattle Magazine’s list of Top Doctors in Seattle for 2021, recognizing their excellence in surgery.
Your care team
Fred Hutch 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.