Cancer Centers Named for Creighton's Lynch

Henry Lynch, M.D.

Cancer Centers Named for Creighton’s Lynch

CHI Health announced in September that the cancer centers at two of its hospitals — Immanuel Medical Center and Bergan Mercy Medical Center — would be named the Henry Lynch Cancer Centers in honor of the longtime Creighton University physician and researcher.

Holder of the Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Lynch has studied the cancer histories of more than 2,900 families in his more than 50-year career tracking the genetic linkages in certain forms of cancer. His name has been given to a syndrome in which defective genes that cause cancer — including cancers of the endometrium, ovaries, brain and colon — are passed, one generation to the next.

Lynch, chairman of Creighton’s Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health and president of the Hereditary Cancer Institute, began his career in the early 1960s and came to Creighton in 1967.

Lynch syndrome was first identified by the budding geneticist in the early 1960s. But, Lynch said, he had a hard fight on his hands to convince anyone of his findings.

“Nobody believed me,” he said. “At that time, cancer was all thought to be caused by environment. Exposure to chemicals. But I knew we had something here. I knew we could potentially save lives.”

Until Lynch syndrome was officially recognized in the 1980s, Lynch traveled and researched almost ceaselessly.

“Dr. Lynch has captained the hereditary cancer ship for 50 years, but the journey is far from over,” said Robert Dunlay, MD’81, dean of the School of Medicine. “The Henry Lynch Cancer Centers will serve as a platform that will ensure that Henry’s legacy of excellence in service to others continues here at Creighton University.”