Veena Shankaran, MD, MS

Veena Shankaran, MD, MS

Veena Shankaran, MD, MS

  • Physician, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Co-Director Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR), Fred Hutch
  • Professor Public Health Sciences Division; Professor, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch

Medical Oncology

“I believe in providing you and your family with the resources to navigate your illness and treatment course with self-assurance and dignity.”

— Dr. Shankaran

Why do you focus on treating gastrointestinal (GI) cancers?

GI cancers are a diverse group of life-threatening diseases; collectively they’re the most common form of cancer in the United States. While significant advances have been made in the way these diseases are treated, there is still room for improvement. I’m passionate about identifying new therapies for GI cancers and increasing the number of clinical trials available. Cancers affecting the gut can also have a major impact on a person’s quality of life — making it difficult for them to enjoy a meal with friends and family. I find it rewarding to help people live not only longer, but better, and participate in the aspects life that give it meaning, like eating and socializing.

What’s it like working with you?

I believe in providing you and your family with the resources to navigate your illness and treatment course with self-assurance and dignity. I enjoy getting to know my patients, explaining what the latest science has to say and discussing what clinical trials are available. There’s been a lot of progress in GI cancer therapy in recent years, and I look forward to sharing that information with you. We’ll work together to develop a treatment plan that is based on the evidence as well as your particular needs and circumstances.

Provider Background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Gastrointestinal cancers

Gastrointestinal cancers

I am a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in GI malignancies. My primary clinical interest is in cancers of the stomach and esophagus; however, I care for patients with a variety of tumors affecting the digestive system. At Fred Hutch, I am also working with colleagues to increase access to novel treatment options by expanding the GI cancer clinical trial program.

In addition to working with patients, I am the co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research. Based at Fred Hutch, this research institute studies health care economics and policy. My research focuses on the out-of-pocket costs that patients with GI cancers experience as well as the cost-effectiveness of cancer therapy; I study how to deliver great care without wasting resources. As a national leader in financial toxicity research, I currently lead the largest prospective cooperative group study to assess financial outcomes for patients with cancer through the SWOG Cancer Research Network. In addition, I serve on SWOG’s Cancer Care Delivery Research Committee.

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree
Dartmouth College

Medical Degree
University of Michigan School of Medicine

University of Michigan, Internal Medicine

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology

Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2009, American Board of Internal Medicine

Seattle Business Magazine's Gold Award for Achievement in Medical Research
Dr. Shankaran received this award in 2019 for her research about the financial strain faced by patients with cancer and her efforts to lessen the impact of costly treatments.


All news
How do we increase equity in cancer care? HICOR’s Value in Cancer Care Summit brings together stakeholders to discuss barriers, pain points and solutions November 8, 2023
First Lady Jill Biden: ‘Your work will change and save lives’ MET-X research lab tour and Cancer Moonshot ‘listening session’ on survivorship and pediatric cancer highlight First Lady's visit to Fred Hutch September 25, 2023
ASCO 2023 highlights: Fine-tuning cancer care Annual oncology meeting emphasizes less-toxic treatments, more precision oncology and new ways to reduce collateral damage June 9, 2023

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch 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.

Find a Clinical Trial


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors 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 provider has written.

View Dr. Shankaran'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 doctors, a patient care 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.


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 or call 206.667.2210