Giants of Cancer Care® Program Inductees


Henry T. Lynch, MD

Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Creighton University School of Medicine

  • Henry T. Lynch, MD, the namesake for Lynch syndrome, is known as the "father of cancer genetics" and "the father of hereditary cancer detection and prevention" for his work identifying cancer syndromes and their patterns of inheritance.
  • Dr Lynch began studying potential hereditary causes of nonpolyposis colon cancer in the 1960s, when medical orthodoxy said that cancer was not a hereditary disease.
  • He established the cardinal principles of cancer genetics: early age of disease onset, specific patterns of multiple primary cancers, and Mendelian patterns of inheritance in extended families.
  • His findings led to the identification of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, better known as Lynch syndrome. Dr Lynch’s results showed that, with early detection, up to 90% of patients with Lynch syndrome and other colon cancers can be cured.
  • Dr Lynch also discovered that some primary tumors of the breast and ovary follow a Mendelian pattern of inheritance. Now known as hereditary breast/ovarian cancer syndrome, that work contributed to the discovery of the risks associated with BRCA1/2 mutations.
  • He has received numerous awards during his career including a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society in 1997 and the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research in 2010.
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