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Edward Frederick Lewison

Edward Frederick Lewison
Date: 1984
Medium: Color Photograph
Dimensions: 24 x 20 in.
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Edward Frederick Lewison


Lewison, a founder and former chief of the breast clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, was born in Chicago. He pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago and earned his B.S. in 1932 and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1936. Lewison then became an intern and resident in surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

To gain further training in his specialty, he served one-year residencies at Passavant Memorial Hospital in Chicago and at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. For most of the next five years, Lewison was in charge of a M.A.S.H. unit, the 192nd General Hospital, in the European theater of operations during World War II. For this service, he was awarded a citation and certificate of merit.

Returning from the medical corps in 1946, Lewison became chief of the breast clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, a post he held for 25 years. He already had many publications to his credit, as well as an invention of rayable gauze (X-ray opaque surgical sponge). In 1949, he joined the faculty of the School of Medicine as an instructor in surgery. When Lewison retired from the faculty in 1980, he had attained the rank of associate professor.

Lewison wrote and edited books on the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, a field in which he was an internationally recognized expert. He was chairman of many symposia and conferences on breast cancer held throughout the world. In addition, he served on the Breast Cancer Committee of the World Health Organization. Lewison was an early advocate of breast self-examination and saw a possible link in the mid-1960s between birth control pills and breast cancer.

Early in his career, he became active as a volunteer in the American Cancer Society. He served the Maryland division as its president and as a member of the board of directors and the executive committee. In 1976, Lewison became the medical director-at-large for the board of directors of the national society.

In 1988, the Breast Cancer Research Library at Hopkins was named for him, and in 2002, it was rededicated as the Lewison Library in the Bunting Blaustein Cancer Research Building. In 1990, Lewison was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Arlene Rosenbloom Wyman Guild.