William P. Harris, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
I get to know my patients well. It’s an important part of guiding them through some very big and complicated decisions.”
What experiences have informed your approach to oncology?
It was always my plan to work in cancer care, but I wanted to have broader medical training first, so I studied internal medicine before pursuing oncology. This background has proven valuable for helping me understand a patient’s entire medical history and manage the full scope of the difficult problems they face as part of a cancer diagnosis. Oncology is a unique specialty; I feel that we, as cancer physicians, are positioned to practice a delicate balance of the art and science of medicine.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a board-certified oncologist who specializes in treating gastrointestinal cancers. These malignancies can affect the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder, pancreas, colon, rectum, anus, stomach and esophagus. I am a consultant for the Liver Tumor Clinic at UWMC and the SCCA’s multidisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Specialty Clinic. I also serve as a moderator for UW 's Gastrointestinal Malignancy Tumor Board.
In addition to providing clinical care, I also design and conduct clinical trials. My research focuses on new targeted therapies, immunotherapies, novel drug combinations and other experimental therapies for patients with liver and biliary-tract cancers. Other areas of interest include analyzing data relating to treatment outcomes for patients with GI cancers and identifying new treatments for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare liver cancer that affects children and young adults.
What do you want patients to know about working with you?
I believe in designing a treatment plan based upon the specifics of your unique case: the biology of your disease, your lifestyle preferences, how aggressively you want to approach the cancer and the risks you’re prepared to take to get the best results. I get to know my patients well. It’s an important part of guiding them through some very big and complicated decisions. Sometimes those decisions involve whether to participate in clinical trials, which provide access to new, promising therapeutic agents. Cancer therapy has come a long way, but there is still room for improvement. Trials can offer patients the latest advancements in care — and raise the bar for what will be the next standard of care.
University of Washington School of Medicine, General Internal Medicine
University of Minnesota, Pathology ; University of Washington School of Medicine, Medical Oncology
Medical Oncology, 2010, American Board of Internal Medicine
Internship, University of Washington