Lia Moriguchi Halasz, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Brain and spinal tumors, radiosurgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, proton beam radiation therapy
To me, being a physician means not only treating the disease, but supporting my patients’ strength, hope and recovery.”
Why do you work with patients who have brain and spinal cord tumors?
Ever since my residency, I’ve been drawn to the field of neuro-oncology. Brain tumors greatly affect patients in terms of the symptoms they experience. These tumors can hinder a person’s ability to think, speak and take care of themselves. I’ve always found it very meaningful to work with patients and families during this difficult time, helping them make decisions and witnessing the strength that they bring. There are also moments of joy in my profession, when patients who were initially given a prognosis of just a few months go on to do very well because of new drug therapies. Years later, when they see me for follow-up appointments, they’re still living their lives — going hiking or enjoying their grandchildren. Nothing can compare to those happy times.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a board-certified radiation oncologist who specializes in the care of patients with brain and spinal cord tumors. My expertise spans several radiation modalities, including proton therapy. I provide care at SCCA Proton Therapy Center, UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center. I also serve as the co-director of the Alvord Brain Tumor Center at UW Medical Center.
In addition to working with patients, I study the clinical outcomes of people with brain tumors who have received radiation therapy. My goal is to improve the delivery of care and patients’ overall quality of life. Another area of interest is conducting clinical trials for patients with gliomas, a type of tumor that occurs in the brain.
What is your approach to care?
Nobody has ever been you with your particular tumor. You are unique, as is the way cancer affects your body and your life. I enjoy working together with you and your family to create a treatment plan that maximizes your ability to beat cancer while also carefully considering your life after treatment as a survivor. While things may not return to “normal” after a cancer diagnosis, many of my patients go on to live full lives; they are able to resume the activities they enjoy and that give their lives purpose and meaning. To me, being a physician means not only treating the disease, but supporting my patients’ strength, hope and recovery.