Nuclear medicine is a branch of radiology where we use small amounts of radioactive particles to help diagnose — and sometimes treat — a variety of diseases, such as prostate cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease. For example, I once cared for a patient with a serious thyroid condition that landed her in the hospital. Her organs were failing and she was comatose. We were able to treat her with a radioactive iodine, and she fully recovered; it was a tremendous save. What inspires me about the field of nuclear medicine is that it has so many applications — and the potential to help all kinds of people by extending their lives or giving them a higher quality of life.
My father passed away from metastatic lung cancer when I was nine. That experience had a profound effect on my life, eventually propelling me into a career in medicine and shaping the way that I approach care. Whenever possible, I like to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with the patients and families I work with. I’m sensitive to the fact that a cancer diagnosis can create upheaval in people’s lives. I take the time to explain how we might be able to use nuclear imaging to help you and answer any questions that you might have.
Imaging and therapy for cancer, other diseases
I am the director of nuclear medicine at Harborview Medical Center and the director of the Nuclear Medicine Residency program at the University of Washington School of Medicine. My area of expertise spans interpreting diagnostic images, overseeing stress tests and treating patients with radioactive therapeutics. I am a nationally recognized expert in functional brain imaging, studying the healthy workings of the brain and how diseases can make those processes go awry. Currently, my research is focused on using functional brain imaging to explore how virtual reality could be used to ease pain during difficult procedures.
At Fred Hutch, I specialize in the functional imaging of a variety of cancers, using radioactive tracers to examine how tumors, organs and tissues in the body are functioning. This technique can help determine how far a cancer has spread or whether a treatment is working. I also treat certain kinds of tumors using targeted therapies that cause minimal side effects.
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
University of Washington, Internal Medicine; University of Washington, Nuclear Medicine
Internal Medicine, 1988, 2016, American Board of Internal Medicine; Nuclear Medicine, 1990, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
Seattle magazine's 2021 Top Doctors Award
Dr. Lewis has been recognized as a Top Doctor in this peer-nominated award.
Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Lewis received this award in 2019 for his achievements and leadership in the field of nuclear medicine.
Seattle Met's 2019 Top Doctors Award
Dr. Lewis was nominated by his peers for this award, because of his exceptional care.
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.