Christoph I. Lee, MD, MS, MBA
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Breast cancer screening, breast MRI, breast ultrasound, image-guided interventional breast procedures
I chose to work with patients who have cancer so that I could be their advocate during one of the most trying and vulnerable periods in their lives.”
What makes practicing radiology meaningful for you?
Imaging is central to breast cancer screening, and the technology is constantly evolving. For example, in the last 15 years we’ve gone from using screen film mammography to digital and now 3-D mammography — and there are even more changes coming down the pipeline that can lead to improved screening and early detection of breast cancer. It’s exciting to be part of a field that’s progressing so quickly. What I also enjoy about this specialty is that I can use medical imaging to advocate for individual patients as well as large groups of people. One of my research programs amasses breast imaging data and outcomes from diverse populations so that we can provide better evidence to policymakers who set cancer screening guidelines.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
I am a board-certified radiologist who specializes in using medical imaging to screen for, detect and manage breast cancer. My research is focused on emerging breast cancer screening technologies, health policy and population health outcomes. I have authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters about a variety of topics within radiology.
I also serve as the director of the Northwest Screening and Cancer Outcomes Research Enterprise (NW-SCORE), a partnership between UW Medicine and community radiology and pathology practices. The goal of NW-SCORE is to compile breast imaging data into a resource that can influence breast cancer screening practices and policies.
What personal experiences have informed your approach to care?
I brought my father-in-law all the way from Montana to get treated at SCCA, and I’m grateful for the way his physicians cared for him. When you’re on the side of being the health advocate for your family member, you realize just how vulnerable people can feel during the diagnostic stage, when they’re waiting to find out whether they have cancer, how aggressive it is and how much disease is present. Having a caring, empathetic physician who understands the latest science and treatments but also takes the time to thoroughly answer questions is critical. I take pride in being a patient listener, fielding any concerns that come up and providing patients and families with concrete data they can use to make decisions.