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Cuthbert Dukes

1890 - 1976

Known for his classification of cancer of the rectum

Cuthbert Dukes was born in 1890. He was educated at Caterham School and then Edinburgh University, qualifying in 1914. He served in the RAMC during the First World War and was attached to the Rifle Brigade; he was awarded the OBE for his services.

After the war, he became a demonstrator in Bacteriology at University College, London, and in 1922 was appointed as the first Pathologist to St Mark's Hospital for Diseases of the Bowel. He is perhaps most well known for the Dukes classification of Cancer of the Rectum but he was also very active in the field of Urology. In 1929 he was appointed to St Peter's Hospital for Genito-Urinary Diseases and in 1939 published a book the Examination and Interpretation of the Urine. Following his research on cancer of the prostate and bladder he provided a well-used classification for both these diseases. He designed an apparatus for drainage of the bladder which was in general use between the Wars. Dukes also wrote a biography of Lord Lister in 1924.

He became President of the Section of Urology of Royal Society of Medicine in 1957. He was also president of the sections of Proctology and the History of Medicine and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society in 1974. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1950. Dukes was also President of the Association of Clinical Pathologists in 1952.

According to his obituary (written by the urologist Clifford Morson), Cuthbert Dukes was kind, with a whimsical sense of humour. His gentleness, inner tranquillity and wisdom were strongly influenced by his Quaker faith. In his retirement he lived quietly at home in Wimbledon until his death at the age of 86.

Further reading

The spread of cancer and its effect upon prognosis
Dukes CE, Bussey HJR 
Brit J Cancer 1958; 12: 309-320

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bladder    Dukes    prostate    rectal    urinary    world war