#HealthHistory Celebrating revolutionary individuals who made historical advancements in medicine
Dr. Audrey Evans is known as a pioneer in the clinical study and treatment of childhood cancers. She made historical medical advancements more specifically in neuroblastoma, the most common of childhood cancers.
Dr. Evans, originally from Britain, came to the US as a fellow at Boston Children’s hospital.
One of Dr. Evans’s most notable contributions to medicine was the development of the Evans staging system for neuroblastomas. Neuroblastoma is the most common childhood cancer, mostly affecting children 5 and younger, and can develop multiple places in the body. Dr. Evans based this staging on both the site of origin and clinical behavior of the tumor. Dr. Evans Part of this advance permitted identification of patients who would fare well regardless of treatment; she was also the first to withhold therapy from this group and spare these children unnecessary chemotherapy and its devastating side effects. She also conducted some of the first trials for chemotherapy agents such as dactinomycin and vincristine.
Dr. Evans had noticed that many families who had traveled far to get care for their children could not afford hotels or places to stay. This inspired her to be a co-founder of the original Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. This facility gives families of young cancer patients a place to stay while their children receive treatment.
Dr. Evans was also a co-founder of the Ronald McDonald Summer Camp. She wanted to create a place for critically ill children and their friends to have fun, be themselves, and have a summer camp experience.
Dr. Audrey Evans contributed tirelessly to the care of children with cancer. Her advancements have not only bettered the lives of those children but their families as well. Her contributions live on today and continue to change lives.
“Changing the Face of Medicine | Audrey Elizabeth Evans.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 3 June 2015, cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_106.html.