William M. Grady, MD

Medical Director, Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Rodger C. Haggitt Professor, Division of Gastroenterology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Professor, Clinical Research Division; Professor, Public Health Sciences Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Gastroenterology
“Communicating that you really care, that you’re going to be a partner for patients and families through tough times, is just as important as providing technical expertise. ”
— Dr. Grady
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had a significant impact on you.

I once met a gentleman in his 80s who was a farmer. Otherwise healthy, he had developed diarrhea that wouldn’t go away. It was so bad he was becoming malnourished and was in danger of dying. He’d been to see other doctors in the community, but no one had made a diagnosis or fixed the problem. I was able to figure out what was going on and treat his condition, which was caused by a bacterial overgrowth. Soon he was feeling better and went back to life on his farm, spending time out in the fields and baling hay. He enjoyed that part of his life immensely, and it felt really good to be able to give that back to him.

Grady-secondary.jpg
What personal experiences have informed your approach to care?

My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1993. At the time, she was treated with a breakthrough therapy that saved her life — she lived another 15 years until the cancer came back. It made me appreciate how important the research side of medicine is. That medical advance gave her time she otherwise wouldn’t have had. Going through that experience with my mom also taught me the value of what I call “ being well held.” Patients and families need someone on their care team who is going to help them navigate a complicated, often fragmented medical system. Communicating that you really care, that you’re going to be a partner for patients and families through tough times, is just as important as providing technical expertise.  

Provider background

Specialty: Gastroenterology

Gastrointestinal cancers, gastrointestinal problems related to cancer treatment

I specialize in the care of patients experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems who also currently have cancer or who have been treated for it. My expertise also includes working with people who have genetic conditions that increase the likelihood they may develop GI cancers. I serve as the medical director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program at SCCA. This program provides assessment, screening and prevention strategies for people at high risk of developing GI cancers due to genetic predisposition (family history) or other factors.

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, I lead a lab that studies the biology of gastrointestinal cancers, with a focus on colon cancer and esophageal cancer. Our goal is to better understand how gene mutations and changes in the way genes are expressed drive the behavior and progression of these cancers. We also seek to identify biomarkers that could be used to detect cancer early, when it’s most treatable, or identify healthy tissue at high risk of becoming cancerous. Ideally, doctors could use this information to tailor prevention tests and therapies. My colleagues and I are currently leading several clinical trials for people at high risk of developing hereditary GI cancers.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
University of Michigan
Medical Degree
University of Michigan
Residency
University of Washington, General Internal Medicine
Fellowship
University of Washington, Gastroenterology; Case Western Reserve University, Gastroenterology
Board Certification
Gastroenterology, 1997; Internal Medicine, 1993, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English

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.

Study ID:
Complete title
Using comprehensive somatic and germline testing at diagnosis of esophageal and/or gastric cancer to improve access to targeted therapy and cancer prevention strategies.
Study ID:
Complete title
Gastrointestinal Cancer Resource (GICasRes) Biorepository
Study ID:
NCT02328677
Complete title
The ColoCare Study

Publications

Many of our SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.

Press

SCCA providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this SCCA provider.

Epigenetic Clock May Reveal Biological Aging After Cancer Treatment and Allow for Objective Measurement of Fatigue

SCCA’s William M. Grady, MD discussed epigenetic age acceleration in cancer patients and treatment in the Endocrinology Advisor.

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.
David M. Hockenbery, MD
David M. Hockenbery, MD
Physician
Gastroenterology
Teresa A. Brentnall, MD
Teresa A. Brentnall, MD
Physician
Gastroenterology
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Team coordinator (TC)
Team coordinator (TC)
Your team 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