Heather H. Cheng, MD, PhD

Heather H. Cheng, MD, PhD

Heather H. Cheng, MD, PhD

  • Director, Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic, Fred Hutch
  • Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
  • Associate Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Medical Oncology

“I consider it a privilege and an important responsibility to work together with you to design the best treatment plan for your life as a whole person, not just as a patient.”

— Dr. Cheng

Have you had a personal experience with cancer, and what did it mean for you?

I didn’t set out to be a prostate cancer specialist, but this disease came very close to home when three members of my immediate family were affected by — and two ultimately died of — prostate cancer during my training. My father-in-law had metastatic prostate cancer for 16 years and maintained a high quality of life for most of that time. My grandfather also had metastatic prostate cancer and lived to the age of 96. There was a point when he had the option to participate in clinical trials, and he made the choice to forgo more treatment. His decision informs how I think about not just my excitement for new clinical trials as a physician and researcher, but also about the value of meeting each patient where they are, understanding their priorities and giving them access to the best treatment that makes sense for them.

What do you think patients appreciate most about the way you care for them?

I strive to offer information, guidance and support with the hope of making the path forward less frightening. Thanks to new scientific developments, clinical trials and treatments, oncology is always evolving, making it possible to instill hope into every day. Your quality of life is a high priority for me. I enjoy the teamwork involved in supporting you and your loved ones through treatment and survivorship.

Provider Background

Area of Clinical Practice

Genitourinary cancers, high risk prevention

Prostate Cancer, Prostate Cancer Genetics, Bladder Cancer, Testicular cancer

I am the director of Fred Hutch’s Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic, which helps bring leading-edge genetic and genomic discoveries to patients. Among the first of its kind in the country, the clinic provides genetic counseling and testing, matches patients with precision oncology clinical trials and provides opportunities for cancer prevention and early detection.

My research interests include studying the inherited genetics of prostate cancer risk, the relationship to cancer-specific mutations and the genomics of prostate cancer (how sets of genes within a tumor behave). A better understanding of the molecular genetics and genomics of an individual's prostate cancer may serve as precision biomarkers to help guide treatment decisions and clinical trial options, potentially avoiding unhelpful treatments. In some cases, this knowledge could be used to inform relatives about cancer risk and what can be done to reduce that risk.

Diseases Treated

Penile Cancer

Testicular Cancer



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree
Princeton University

Medical Degree
University of Washington School of Medicine

University of Washington, Internal Medicine

University of Washington, Hematology-Oncology

Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2013; Internal Medicine, 2010, American Board of Internal Medicine

PhD, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington


Rising Stars in Healthcare, Becker’s Hospital Review, 2017

Kelsey Dickson-PCF Young Investigator, Prostate Cancer Foundation, 2015

Molecular Markers in Cancer Merit Award, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, 2012

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch physicians. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your physician can decide if a study is right for you. 

Find a Clinical Trial Led by Dr. Cheng


Many of our Fred Hutch 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 Fred Hutch physician has written. 

View Dr. Cheng's Publications

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dietitians, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders. 


Fred Hutch 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 the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.

Email media@fredhutch.org or call 206.667.2210