Sara Zakem, MD
I was treating a gentleman in his early 40s who had metastatic melanoma. He was so interesting; he had traveled, he was outgoing and he often came by to say hello. It made me realize how much I love the aspect of my field that allows me to get to know people. It was so rewarding to feel like I made an impact on him. We had personal conversations about travel. He told me he'd been to Yosemite and I told him I'd always wanted to go there. Before he passed, he gave me a beautiful photo he’d taken at Yosemite. When I look at that photo, it reminds me of the rewards that come from getting to know each patient first and foremost as a person.
My father is a medical oncologist, and after watching him, I knew medical oncology was what I wanted to do. It threw me for a loop when my sister, aunt and then mother were all diagnosed with cancer. Going through that was incredibly difficult, but each of those experiences shaped my path forward. It challenged my expectation of whether I could continue to pursue oncology, but my mother encouraged me. She really admired her physicians, and the treatment they offered made all the difference. So much of what I do is trying to treat my patients with the same care those physicians provided my mother and our family.
Specialty: Radiation Oncology
Our mission is to provide patients with the highest quality, personalized care closer to home. As part of Fred Hutch, our community oncologists offer patients multidisciplinary tumor board opinions, clinical trials and expertise in treating a variety of cancers.
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.
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