By Elizabeth Seasholtz
Charles Dunton believes that at some
point in your life you should give back.
After beginning his OBGYN residency at
Lankenau Medical Center Dunton decided
he wanted to care for seriously ill women-
-specifically, women with cancer. He
finished his residency and completed an
oncology fellowship at the University
He decided to give even more when
the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
contacted him last year with an offer to
join a volunteer effort to teach in Honduras
through the organization Health Volunteers
Overseas, or HVO. “The idea of teaching
local healthcare providers, rather than just
seeing patients, made a lot of sense to me,”
During his week-long trip to Honduras
this past August, Dunton was impressed
with the high level of knowledge the
healthcare providers had but surprised by
their inability to deliver the best medicine
because of social constraints. “They don’t
have the screenings we have, so you see a
lot of advanced cancers,” he says. “We had
to go back in time, think how we treated
patients 30 to 40 years ago, and make do
with what we had.”
With about 2.1 million women at risk,
it’s estimated there are more than 3,300
cases of cervical cancer in Honduras,
representing 40 percent of cancer in the
nation. If the United States experienced
similar rates, we would see more than
150,000 cases of cervical each year. Instead,
due to screening and treatment, there are
only about 12,000 U.S. cases annually.
Since returning home, Dunton has
remained involved with the Honduran
physicians he met, talking to them via Skype
in a monthly tumor board. He also hosted a
Honduran physician who came in April to
observe him at Lankenau, where he’s now
director of gynecologic oncology. Dunton
says HVO is constantly in need of healthcare
professionals in all fields to train their
counterparts in foreign countries.
Dunton answers 10 questions about his career.
1. What don’t people know about your
field that you wish they did?
The importance of HPV (human
papillomavirus) vaccines in prevention
of cervical cancer. There needs to be
more widespread use.
2. What advice would you give to your
Make sure to study basics well so you
don’t have to relearn them.
3. If you weren’t a physician, what
would you be?
4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who get on the elevator without
letting you off first.
5. What’s on your bucket list?
To write a book and visit Sweden —
I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia.
6. If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Mr. Bad Example” by Warren Zevon.
7. Describe yourself in three words.
Dedicated, funny, family man.
I have a son and a daughter, McCrea
8. What is the proudest moment in
Graduation from JMC with my parents.
9. What is the most adventurous thing
you have ever done?
Sailed the Caribbean during medical
school with five other 1980 graduates.
10. What gets you out of bed in the
The mortgage and tuition payments!