Vyshak Venur, MD
During my fellowship, I met a young guy who’d been diagnosed with cancer that had spread to his brain. He’d seen a number of other physicians prior to me, and most of them had recommended that he get radiation, but he was adamantly against it. As a law student, he was concerned about the impact of radiation on his ability to think and finish school. Even though he’d seen all these other specialists, no one had talked to him in detail about what the treatment would mean for him specifically and what would happen if he didn’t get it. After our appointment, he wrote me a letter thanking me for taking the time to explain the disease process and how it would affect his future. In the end, he opted to get radiation, and he did well, even graduating from law school. It’s not enough to just give information — we must help people understand how a particular disease or treatment will affect them personally. That’s why I have a keen interest in learning about each patient.
A diagnosis of brain or spinal cancer can have devasting consequences for you and your family. As a neuro-oncologist, my focus is not just controlling or eliminating cancer, but also helping you go about your day-to-day life while dealing with challenging symptoms like paralysis, cognitive issues or problems with speech. My role is to support you and your caregivers during this tough period — and to offer hope. While it’s important to maintain realistic expectations, research in this field is growing. Novel therapeutic approaches are being tested in clinical trials at SCCA and other cancer centers across the country. We’ll discuss which treatment options, whether traditional or experimental, may be a good fit for you.
Specialty: Medical Oncology
Brain and Spine, Primary and Secondary Metastasis
I specialize in treating patients with primary brain tumors and central nervous system (CNS) metastases — cancers that have spread to the brain, spinal cord or spinal fluid from elsewhere in the body. I provide care at SCCA’s Neuro-oncology Clinic and UW Medical Center’s Alvord Brain Tumor Center.
My research is focused on developing new treatment options for people with brain tumors or CNS metastases. I am particularly interested in how immunotherapies could help these patients as well as increasing the availability of clinical trials. In addition to care and research, I have published many peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. I am also an active member of various committees for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Secondary brain and spinal tumors require prompt evaluation and leading-edge treatment. That's why specialists from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) Brain and Spine Metastases Clinic review cases seven days a week, as needed, so patients receive care as soon as possible.
No one wants a brain tumor, but without it, Brian FauntLeRoy and his wife, Rachel, probably wouldn’t be who and where they are today. Brian and Rachel, both 23, began dating as juniors in college, where he played football and she played soccer. They had had been together for a year when Brian woke up one evening shortly before Christmas 2019. He had fallen asleep and Rachel was leaving his house in Helena, Montana, where they both attended Carroll College, when he had a seizure.
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA 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.
Your care team
SCCA accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.