Ramesh Rengan, MD, PhD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
My philosophy is simple: My patients come first.”
Why do you practice oncology?
I became a physician because of my patients. Every day, I am inspired by oncology patients’ selflessness, even when faced with a difficult disease. I once cared for a 96-year old patient who voluntarily gave up a treatment slot so that a perfect stranger could coordinate their appointment with chemotherapy. There is nothing more fulfilling than providing care for you, and I am honored to be entrusted with your health.
I am passionate about patient care, tumor biology and advanced technologies. Radiation oncology combines these fields while providing new challenges and opportunities for scientific advancement every day. Through the integration of these disciplines, I can provide state-of-the art treatment to you.
In addition to spending time with patients, I am involved in research aimed at making radiation a more effective treatment. Radiation is a potent stimulator of the immune system, and when that potential is targeted properly at the tumor, it can make the tumor function as a vaccine against itself. As a field, we are moving towards individualizing treatments to the biology of specific tumors — and, ideally, the patient. This “biologically directed” anti-cancer treatment is already a reality for several malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. In my lifetime, I would like to see this approach integrated across all solid tumors, including lung cancer and melanoma.
What is your approach to patient care?
Patient care should be based on a partnership between us, starting from your initial visit through your entire treatment process. Amazing quality care can only come from spending time and truly listening to you. I may have greater medical knowledge about your disease, but you have a far better understanding of your physical and emotional needs. We will get to know each other and tailor your treatment to fit what’s best for you and your lifestyle.