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SNO Mourns the Passing of Tara Benkers


Tara Benkers, MD was a neuro-oncologist who passed away on September 4, 2021 close to three years after her diagnosis of ALK positive lung cancer.

Tara was inspired to pursue medicine after spending some time as a clinical research coordinator with a Magnetoencephalography laboratory. Tara graduated from the University of Colorado, completed residency in neurology at the University of Washington, Seattle, and a fellowship in neuro-oncology (MGH/DFCI/BWH). Tara’s professional career as a neuro-oncologist was spent at Swedish Hospital, in Seattle (2013-2020). 

Dr. Tara Benkers was more than a neuro-oncologist, she was a mother, a friend and she was one of those rare individuals, whose dry sense of humor and smile were magical. Tara loved nature and hiking in the Rocky Mountains and San Juan Islands, was a very talented painter, and had impeccable taste. Tara was also the person that many of her friends turned to for advice, as she was always calm and was a voice of reason. Tara loved neuro-oncology, and she gave her patients undivided attention.  She brought in a repertoire of neuro-oncology trials to Swedish Hospital, Seattle, and received a “Top Doctor” award while she was working in Seattle. Tara was no stranger to cancer, both in her work and personal sphere. During her second year of residency, she returned to Colorado to care for her mother who also died of lung cancer. When I think of Tara, I think of her as an independent spirit, with indomitable courage, and faced her cancer unflinchingly. Adam Hansgen, her best friend and spouse, was by her side until the very end, nearly 28 years after they first met. Tara had Dutch and Jewish roots, and deeply loved those in her inner circle. There are so many words that one could write about Tara, as her name in Sanskrit means, a star, may her star continue to shine brightly in the horizon. Her memories will live within her four year old daughter Ine, husband Adam, sister-in-law, Rachel, mother-in-law, Karen, and all her friends who valued her friendship. Rest in peace Tara, in beloved Colorado, were your roots were planted, and where you made a beautiful home with your family. Any donations can be made to

In Memoriam provided by Dr. Soma Sengupta.