Elizabeth Stern Elizabeth stern shankmen

General Information

Elizabeth Stern was born on September 19, 1915, in Cobalt, Ontario, Canada. Elizabeth died on August 18, 1980, in Los Angeles, California at the age of 64. She married a chemist named Solomon Shankman and they had three children, her married name was Elizabeth Stern Shankman. Elizabeth was a Canadian citizen but after marrying Solomon, she became a U.S citizen in 1943.

Elizabeth Stern's husband, Solomon Shankman at Griffin Park.

Personal Life

After earning her Medical degree in Canada, she move to the United States to further her education. She married a chemist from the U.S named Solomon Shankman and became a U.S citizen. She had three children with her husband. Elizabeth was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the 1970s and began going under chemotherapy treatments. She continued her research while undergoing the treatments. When she died in 1980, her colleagues were thankful she kept her research organized so others could continue her research where she left off.

Elizabeth Stern Shankman


Elizabeth earned her medical degree in 1939 from the University of Toronto. She then went to the Pennsylvania Medical School. She became a resident in pathology at Good Samaritan and Cedars of Lebanon Hospitals in Los Angeles, California, from 1942 to 1946. She then became an associate pathologist at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital from 1946 to 1949. Elizabeth worked at the Cancer Detection Centre in Los Angeles in the 1950s. She was also a lecture and professor at the University of Southern California Medical School and also in the Department of Pathology at the University of California. Elizabeth was one of the first scientists specializing in cytopathology, which is the study of diseased cells.

University of Toronto


Elizabeth became interested in cervical cancer while working at the Cancer Detection Centre and became determined to figure out the causes and development. During her research, she discovered that healthy cervical cells go through 250 stages as they develop to become cancerous. This discovery made it much easier to detect cancer before it was well advanced. This made it very easy to treat cervical cancer to save lives. Before her discovery, cervical cancer was almost always fatal.

Elizabeth published a paper in 1963 discussing her research on the link between the herpes simplex virus and cervical cancer. In the 1970s, she and her team published their research papers in scientific journals providing evidence that women who use oral contraceptives are more likely to develop cervical dysplasia, which is a precursor to cervical cancer. Their work also showed that cervical dysplasia were more likely to become cancerous in women who used oral contraceptives.

Elizabeth was the first person to distinguish this link. It is based off her 10 years on research with over 10,000 women who used the family planning clinic.

Cervical Cancer Cells

Significance to Canada

She is a Canadian born Pathologist who had major breakthroughs in cervical cancer research changed lives by making the cancer one of the easiest to diagnose and treat. Before her breakthroughs, cervical cancer was almost always fatal. She became a huge role model for other researches and for many women.

Research Reasoning

The reason I choose to research Elizabeth Stern is because she is very interesting and made immense advancements in our medical system. All of her research and discoveries made cervical cancer easily detected in the first stages of progression, which in turn made it easier to treat and cure patients with the disease. Elizabeth's research has saved many lives from being cut short of cancer.

Elizabeth Stern

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