Dr. Lynch has been described as the father of cancer genetics. Dr. Lynch is one of the first researchers to discover the genetic links of cancer.
Dr. Lynch is currently the Chairman of Preventive Medicine at Creighton University.
Dr. Lynch was born in 1928 in Massachusetts and grew up in New York. He dropped out of high school at age 14 and joined the Navy by lying about his age and using a fake ID. He served as a gunner during World War II.
After his discharge, he became a professional boxer, using the name “Hammerin’Hank”.
He then returned to school, receiving both Ph.D. and MD degrees.
Dr. Lynch started noticing that some of the cancer patients he cared for had relatives with the same type of cancer, and began to focus on the hereditary aspect of the disease. At that time in the 1960s, the American Cancer Society said there was no genetic basis of cancer, and so Dr. Lynch’s work was controversial. For 20 years, his grant applications for his research were rejected, but Dr. Lynch persisted on his own, compiling family histories of patients with cancer.
Eventually Dr. Lynch proved that his theories were right. His most famous theory about a hereditary type of colorectal cancer was proven correct, and is now called “Lynch Syndrome.” Dr. Lynch also developed the genetic theory on breast cancer that led to the development of BRCA testing.