Janie M. Lee, MD, MSc

Director, Breast Imaging
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Professor, Department of Radiology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Physician
UW Medicine
Specialty:
Radiology
“My passion for helping patients live longer, healthier lives drives everything I do, from providing care to conducting research to educating the next generation of radiologists.”
— Dr. Lee
What sparked your interest in radiology?

As a radiologist, I tackle difficult clinical questions using technology that allows me to literally see inside the body — that’s pretty amazing! What drew me to breast imaging in particular was working with patients during entire episodes of care. Breast imaging radiologists not only read mammograms but also discuss results, do biopsies and help develop treatment plans as part of a care team. Also, I started my medical career at a time when including women of all race and ethnicity groups in clinical trials was being recognized as critical to understanding how treatments affect everyone, which motivated me to focus on women’s health. My passion for helping patients live longer, healthier lives drives everything I do, from providing care to conducting research to educating the next generation of radiologists.

Biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue or fluid that is examined to see whether cancer is present. This may be done with a large needle or through surgical removal of tissue or fluids. Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy.
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How do you like to work with patients?

I see patients from all walks of life who are facing a variety of medical situations. Whether you are receiving a breast cancer screening, feeling concerned about a breast lump, going through active treatment or seeking a post-treatment checkup, it’s important to me that you feel heard and well taken care of from the moment you walk in the door. My approach to care is grounded in evidence and focused on individual values and preferences. Patients are never just patients — they are also parents, spouses, siblings, friends, neighbors and community members, and I believe that your experience of receiving care should honor those intersecting identities.

Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease.

Provider background

Specialty: Radiology

Area of clinical practice

Breast imaging

Breast cancer

I am a board-certified radiologist who specializes in breast imaging. My expertise includes using state-of-the-art technology, such as 3-D mammography, ultrasound and MRI, to diagnose and manage breast cancer. I also serve as the director of breast imaging at SCCA, where I guide our team in delivering patient-centered, research-driven care. My professional affiliations include the American Board of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging.

As a researcher, I focus on improving the way we diagnose early breast cancer and monitor for disease recurrence. My research studies integrate technology, cancer biology and individual patient risk factors to inform personalized cancer screening and surveillance strategies. This approach can maximize our ability to detect breast cancer for each patient while minimizing their exposure to false positives (test results that cause concern but don’t turn out to be cancer). 

Imaging In medicine, a process that makes pictures of areas inside the body. Imaging uses methods such as X-rays (high-energy radiation), ultrasound (high-energy sound waves) and radio waves. Mammography The use of film or a computer to create a picture of the breast. Magnetic resonance imaging A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) or X-ray. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, the spine, the soft tissue of joints and the inside of bones. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy. Recurrence Cancer that has come back, usually after a period during which it could not be detected. It may come back to the same place as the original (primary) tumor or someplace else. Also called recurrent cancer. Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease. Surveillance Closely watching a patient’s condition but not treating it unless there are changes in test results. Surveillance is also used to find early signs that a disease has come back. In medicine, surveillance means closely watching a patient’s condition but not treating it unless there are changes in test results. Surveillance is also used to find early signs that a disease has come back. It may also be used for a person who has an increased risk of a disease, such as cancer. During surveillance, certain exams and tests are done on a regular schedule. In public health, surveillance may also refer to the ongoing collection of information about a disease, such as cancer, in a certain group of people. The information collected may include where the disease occurs in a population and whether it affects people of a certain gender, age or ethnic group. Ultrasound A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen. A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to look at tissues and organs inside the body. The sound waves make echoes that form pictures of the tissues and organs on a computer screen (sonogram). Ultrasound may be used to help diagnose diseases, such as cancer. It may also be used during pregnancy to check the fetus (unborn baby) and during medical procedures, such as biopsies. Also called ultrasonography.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
University of Pennsylvania
Residency
University of Pennsylvania, Diagnostic Imaging
Fellowship
Massachusetts General Hospital, Breast Imaging
Board Certification
Diagnostic Radiology, 2003, American Board of Radiology
Other
MSc, Harvard School of Public Health
Languages
English

Research

Clinical trials

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

Publications

Many of our SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.

Press

SCCA providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this SCCA provider.

13 Tips for Your First Mammogram

SCCA's Janie Lee, MD, MSc, spoke with U.S. News & World Report about breast cancer screening guidelines. 

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team 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.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

SCCA 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.