Born today in 1915, was Elizabeth Stern Shankman. She was a Canadian pathologist who was one of the first researchers to specialize in cytopathology, or the study of diseased cells. She performed breakthrough research in cervical cancer, having demonstrated that a normal cell undergoes 250 distinct stages before reaching an advanced cancerous state. Her research allowed for earlier diagnostic testing for cervical cancer, thereby greatly reducing the fatality rate of that disease.
She is also recognized as the first researcher to show that a specific cancer (cervical) is linked to a specific virus (herpes simplex). In addition, she was the first to show a link between prolonged use of oral contraceptive pills and cervical dysplasia. She died in 1980 at the age of 64 from stomach cancer.
Elizabeth Stern Shankman has also been named one of the 300 women who have changed the world, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.