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Meet our Lung Expert Dr. John Kang

Meet our Lung Expert Dr. John Kang

We’re excited to have a new proton therapy thoracic cancers specialist starting at the Center, Dr. John Kang.

Dr. Kang became interested in medicine through his mother, who was a doctor in China. He settled on radiation oncology because he feels it perfectly blends technology, medicine, patient care and research. No other medical field ticked all the boxes of his interests.

As a medical student, Dr. Kang gave a presentation on stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) – which combines high doses with fewer sessions — for lung patients. “Before SBRT, if you were not a candidate for surgery, you got radiation, but it wouldn’t necessarily work well. SBRT offers patients receiving radiation a curative treatment with fewer side effects, and that got me excited to learn more about lung cancer,” says Dr. Kang.  Now, he is adding another effective treatment with few side effects to his arsenal: proton therapy.  

Dr. Kang is also interested in applying artificial intelligence to medicine. He is the biomedical informatics lead at UW Medicine Radiation Oncology and collaborates with researchers in UW’s Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education on using natural language processing to detect clinical outcomes and to screen through safety reports such as fall risks.

“Biomedical informatics is the study of how we can use data to give us insight into our patients,” he explains. “For example, it can be hard for an institution to know how patients are doing on a large scale, or what percentage of patients have control of their cancer. By using an existing clinical variable like blood work in their electronic health charts, I can apply artificial intelligence to get a sense of outcomes such as how many patients are experiencing toxicity and what is the toxicity related to.”  

Dr. Kang grew up in four countries, which gave him an appreciation for different cuisines. His favorite food is Vietnamese pho, but he and his wife, Carol, enjoy trying numerous ethnic restaurants and gave found local favorites since moving to Seattle last year with their cat, Tiggy.