Dr. Martins is the medical director for thoracic/head and neck oncology as well as outpatient general oncology and hematology at SCCA.
An oncological diagnosis affects patients and their families in a profound way. Caring for the patients must include attention to their needs but also to their family's needs.
Head and neck cancers; lung cancer; clinical trial design
- Medical Director, Outpatient General Oncology/Hematology, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
- Medical Director, Thoracic/Head and Neck Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Member, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- MD: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 1992
- Internship, Internal Medicine: Carney Hospital, 1992-1993
- Residency: Internal Medicine at Gundersen Clinic, 1993-1995
- Fellowships: Hematology/Oncology at Massachusetts General, Harvard Medical School, 1995-1998
- Masters in Public Health: Harvard University, 1996-1998
- Chief of Medical Oncology: Brazilian National Cancer Institute, 1998-2003
- Dr. Martins was recognized in 2013, 2014, and 2015 as a "Top Doctor" in Seattle magazine's annual survey, and in Seattle Met magazine's 2013 and 2014 annual survey.
- Dr. Martins discusses cellular immunotherapy for lung cancer in this ASCO 2016 video.
- Visit PubMed for a full listing of journal articles authored by Dr. Martins.
Dr. Renato Martins: Treats Patients with Care and Dignity
"Lung cancer kills more people than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined," says Dr. Renato Gonçalves Martins, the head of lung cancer medical oncology at SCCA. "But there is not the same level of research funding and press coverage."
One reason for this, adds the Harvard-trained medical oncologist, is "the perceived notion that patients should be reprimanded by getting sick, as though it was their fault for getting lung cancer or having smoked."
Cigarettes are "highly addictive," Dr. Martins says. About 90 percent of people who develop lung cancer are or were smokers, and about one of every five heavy smokers will get lung cancer.
At SCCA, Dr. Martins says, "We focus on treating the patient, not on making him or her feel guilty for having smoked." At the same time, "It is never too late to stop smoking. Even people who have already been diagnosed with lung cancer can benefit from quitting smoking."
Dr. Martins, a native of Brazil, is medical director of Thoracic/Head and Neck Oncology and medical director of Outpatient Services at SCCA, and a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
After completing medical school in Brazil, Dr. Martins came to the United States for further training. He did a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School while also earning a master's degree in public health at Harvard in 1998.
Dr. Martins then returned to Brazil, where he was chief of medical oncology at the Brazilian National Cancer Institute in Rio de Janeiro until he accepted his present positions at SCCA and the University of Washington. He arrived in Seattle in February 2004.
Dr. Martins and his wife have two daughters.
Why patients choose SCCA
Dr. Martins believes that people come to SCCA for lung cancer treatment to receive the best possible care, from doctors who are nationally known.
If they need surgery, SCCA patients may consult with our team of top lung cancer surgeons, lead by Dr. Douglas Wood. "Patients who had been told at other cancer centers that their lung cancer was inoperable have successfully undergone surgery here," Dr. Martins says.
People who come to SCCA for lung cancer treatment have the option of receiving the standard treatment, given by some of the most renowned experts in the country. Or, because SCCA's parent organizations are research centers, they also have the option of participating in clinical research trials for new and promising treatments.
"If you opt for standard treatment—we are the best," he says. "If you want a clinical trial—we can offer unique opportunities."
Many people are concerned about their safety if they opt for a clinical trial. But Dr. Martins points out that all research trials must clear a number of hurdles, including that of patient safety, before they are approved. The rigorous approval process means that, "Studies conducted at the UW and SCCA are discussed and approved by a number of specialists and represent a consensus that the research may represent an improvement on what we are doing now," he says.
Dr. Martins says, "SCCA is a marvelous place. The surgery and radiation therapy departments are nationally known. We offer the best lung cancer and head and neck cancer treatment available. But I'm not satisfied. Through clinical research we can improve even further on what we have to offer our patients in terms of improved survival and better quality of life."