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Governors Declare March 22 Lynch Syndrome Awareness Day

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and more than 20 other U.S. governors to date have declared March 22, 2012, as Lynch Syndrome Public Awareness Day. An item will also be read into the Congressional Record by U.S. Representative Ed Towns of New York.

The syndrome is named after its discoverer, Henry Lynch, M.D., director of Creighton Universityís Hereditary Cancer Center and Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

Lynch Syndrome International, a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 to raise public awareness of and support for individuals afflicted by the syndrome, is spearheading the awareness day.

Also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), Lynch Syndrome increases oneís risk of colon and other cancers. Itís estimated that about three in every 100 colon cancers are caused by Lynch syndrome, making it the most common inherited cause for colon cancer. Read more.

Often regarded as the father of hereditary cancer detection and prevention, Lynch was a pioneer in the study of cancer and genetics in the 1960s, and his use of statistics to prove genetic links to certain cancer types was unique from other researchers at that time. His early cancer research significantly influenced how physicians and researchers treat and study hereditary cancers today.

Lynch was an assistant professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston prior to joining the Creighton University School of Medicine faculty in 1967. In 1984, he established Creighton University's Hereditary Cancer Prevention Clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic that provides information and services related to hereditary cancers.