Natasha B. Hunter, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
A cancer diagnosis changes people. It's rewarding to be present with them while they make that adjustment.”
Why did you change careers from journalism to medicine?
Medicine is similar to journalism in many ways: You read, you talk to experts, you observe, you listen to people's experiences and then you draw conclusions and write a summary. But, as a journalist, your goal is simply to tell the truth. This goal can place you at odds with your sources, and it can sometimes feel a bit abstract. In medicine, I love that I still get to do almost everything I enjoyed as a journalist, but now it’s always in pursuit of tangible goals around caring for people — goals that are shared among patients and providers.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of breast cancer. Prior to joining SCCA, I completed a fellowship in oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine. My research interests include studying breast cancer biomarkers, which may improve our ability to gauge response to treatment and monitor for recurrence and remission. I’m also interested in exploring new therapies for metastatic disease and how to improve access to studies and new treatments for patients who live in remote areas.
Why do you choose to work with patients who have breast cancer?
In my first year of fellowship, I met an elderly woman with metastatic breast cancer. She was in terrible shape, and I didn’t expect her to live very long, but she became my patient and lived for more than two years longer. Working with her made me understand the impact I can have on patients, especially those with breast cancer. We have more and more tools each day to treat this disease. I was inspired by her strength and felt very honored to care for her; that’s one of the reasons I chose this disease type.