Smith Apisarnthanarax, MD

Smith Apisarnthanarax, MD
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Smith Apisarnthanarax, MD

  • Medical Director, Radiation Oncology, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs, Clinical Research Director, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Physician, UW Medicine

Radiation Oncology

“At Fred Hutch, we really do our best to make sure that we’re always thinking outside the box, doing what’s right for each individual patient.”

— Dr. Apisarnthanarax

Why do you practice radiation oncology?

My first real exposure to cancer was through my grandmother, who lived in Thailand. She had metastatic thyroid cancer that left her paralyzed for most of the time that I knew her, and I think that experience planted the seed for what would become my calling. What I like about radiation oncology is that it’s a very visual field of medicine; we rely on anatomy and imaging, and that speaks to the artist in me. This specialty is also a nice combination of sophisticated technology, biology, direct patient care and teamwork. At Fred Hutch, we really do our best to make sure that we’re always thinking outside the box, doing what’s right for each individual patient.

What personal experiences have informed your approach to care?

Several years ago, I was hospitalized for a life-threatening illness, and it gave me a greater appreciation for what my patients go through. For example, I had to wear compression boots that squeezed my calves every 30 minutes to prevent blood clots from forming. They were standard procedure for someone like me who was in the hospital for a long period of time and couldn’t move around, but they were incredibly uncomfortable and made it impossible to sleep. Sometimes it’s the little things —like those cuffs —that we as physicians may not think twice about, but they can have a big impact on a person’s well-being. Having had that experience in the hospital, I never dismiss any of my patients’ complaints or concerns as trivial. Being diagnosed with and treated for cancer is one of the most arduous experiences there is; your quality of life is always a priority for me.

Provider Background

Specialty: Radiation Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Genitourinary cancers, skin cancers

Gastrointestinal cancers, prostate cancer

I am a board-certified radiation oncologist with expertise in several radiation modalities including proton therapy, a type of external beam radiation that precisely targets tumors while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue. I treat patients with prostate cancer and gastrointestinal cancers, which can affect organs such as the esophagus, liver and pancreas. Prior to joining Fred Hutch, I was an assistant professor and associate residency program director at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

My research is focused on optimizing proton radiation treatments for liver cancer. Historically, radiation wasn’t used to treat liver tumors, so there is much to learn about safely delivering potentially curative radiation doses and how to integrate radiation with other available treatments. I’m also interested in how functional imaging of the liver, which examines the organ’s physiological activities, can be used to improve radiation treatment planning and predict responses to cancer therapy.

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree
Brown University

Medical Degree
Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School

University of North Carolina, Radiation Oncology

MD Anderson Cancer Center, Radiation Oncology

Board Certification
Radiation Oncology, 2010, American Board of Radiology

Internship, Northwestern University, Evanston Hospital


Seattle Met's 2023 Top Doctors award
Dr. Apisarnthanarax has received this peer-nominated award for exceptional patient care.

Seattle Magazine's 2022 Top Doctors award
Dr. Apisarnthanarax has been recognized as a Top Doctor in this peer-nominated award multiple years in a row.


All news
Michael Mendiola almost gave up – until he talked to “Dr. A” “I recommended proton therapy both times for Mr. Mendiola because he had multiple prior treatments to the liver,” says Apisarnthanarax. July 28, 2023

Clinical Trials

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

View Clinical Trials Led by Dr. Apisarnthanarax


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

View Dr. Apisarnthanarax's Publications

Your Care Team

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.

For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.

Email or call 206.667.2210