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.
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.
Area of clinical practice
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.
University of Michigan School of Medicine
University of Michigan, Internal Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology
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.
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.