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Henry Lynch, celebrated as father of cancer genetics, dies at 91

IGCS and the global oncology community pays tribute to Henry T. Lynch, MD, a renowned researcher and true pioneer in the study of hereditary cancers. Dr. Lynch passed away on June 2 at a hospice center in Omaha at the age of 91.

Dr. Lynch was credited with providing, in the 1960s, the first complete description of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, a form of colon cancer eventually renamed Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome patients also have an increased risk of endometrial, ovarian, stomach, pancreatic and other forms of cancer.

In 1971, he identified a hereditary form of breast and ovarian cancers, which in the 1990s was linked to the BRCA genes. Dr. Lynch also documented hereditary forms of melanoma and prostate and pancreatic cancers.

He promoted early detection techniques, such as frequent colonoscopies for patients with Lynch syndrome, as well as preventive mastectomies and oophorectomies, or the removal of the ovaries, for some patients with hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer.

He will be remembered for these incredible discoveries, which laid the foundation for our modern era of precision medicine. His work  has had a profound effect on cancer screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Read Dr. Lynch’s complete obituary in the Washington Post.