Vyshak Venur, MD

Physician
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Assistant Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Physician
UW Medicine
Assistant Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“It’s not enough to 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. ”
— Dr. Venur
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had a significant impact on you.

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. 

Venur-Secondary.jpg
How do you help patients?

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. 

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Neuro-oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating brain tumors and other tumors of the nervous system. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Brain and Spine, Primary and Secondary Metastasis

Brain and spinal cord cancers

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.

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India
Residency
Cleveland Clinic-Fairview Hospital
Fellowship
University of Iowa, Hematology-Oncology; Massachusetts General Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Neuro-Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2018; Internal Medicine, 2015, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English
Hindi
Awards
2017 Best Fellows’ Research Presentation, Iowa Oncology Society
2015 Resident Travel Grant, Cleveland Clinic-Fairview Hospital
2015 Young Investigator Award, American College of Physicians

Stories

Rapid, Multidisciplinary Review of Referrals Gets Patients with Brain and Spine Metastases to Treatment Quickly

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. 

Diagnosed young with a brain tumor, Brian FauntLeRoy maximizes quality of life through a clinical trial

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.  

Research

Clinical trials

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

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

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.

For providers