publication date: Jun. 7, 2019


Henry Lynch, pioneer of hereditary cancer detection, dies at 91

Henry T. Lynch, the father of hereditary cancer detection and prevention, died June 2. He was 91.

Lynch was the founder and director of the Creighton University Hereditary Cancer Center, which opened in 1984. Also that year, the term “Lynch syndrome” was coined to recognize his contributions in identifying the strain of hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer.

On the website of his center, Lynch posted what he described “a little history of myself,” which he wrote in the third person:

I would like to welcome you to the Hereditary Cancer Center’s Web site and share with you a little history of myself, so you can get to know me and some of my past experiences in cancer research.

In 1944, at only 16 years of age, Henry T. Lynch joined the United States Navy. He proceeded to serve in the European theater, the South Pacific battles and the Philippine liberation.

Two years later, after receiving his honorable discharge he began studies toward a baccalaureate degree. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1951. Thereafter, in 1952, at age 24, he obtained his master’s degree in psychology from Denver University. He earned his medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1960, after completing all the coursework toward a PhD in human genetics at Austin.

As an internal medicine resident at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Dr. Lynch met patients who had many family members who were affected by or who had died of the same type of cancer they themselves had been diagnosed with. Because of his strong background … Continue reading Henry Lynch,pioneer of hereditary cancer detection, dies at 91

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