Prof. Charles Mark Lwanga Olweny

Chairman Board of Directors, Uganda Cancer Institute

Prof. Charles Mark Lwanga Olweny, is a Ugandan physician, oncologist, academic and medical researcher. The Professor has written over 20 books and over 120 professional articles. He is currently the Chairman Board of Directors at Uganda Cancer Institute and also Board chair Nsambya Hospital.

Professor Olweny attended St. Peter’s College Tororo, for his O-Level education (S1-S4). He attended St. Mary’s College Kisubi for his A-Level classes (S5-S6). In 1961, Olweny joined Makerere University School of Medicine, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), in 1966. Later, he obtained the degree of Master of Medicine in Internal Medicine (MMed). He followed that with the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD), all from Makerere University. Olweny’s chosen speciality is medical oncology.

Charles Olweny served as the first Ugandan Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, from 1972 until 1982. Under his stewardship, the team of Ugandan medical researchers were the first group to demonstrate that liver cancer could be successfully treated with chemotherapy using the drug doxorubicin, which is still the mainstay of treatment for liver cancer today. They were also able to confirm that Burkitt lymphoma could be cured with a high dose of chemotherapy and showed that the same was true for childhood Hodgkin disease. They documented the incidence of endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma in children and conducted clinical trials on how to treat it.

During the same timeframe, Olweny served – first as a lecturer, then senior lecturer and later as professor of Medicine – in the Faculty of Internal Medicine, at Makerere University School of Medicine, serving as head of department, from 1979 until when he left the country for Australia due to political insurgencies in 1982.

While in Australia, he served as clinical professor at the Department of Medicine & Surgery, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia. He also served as Senior Director for Medical Oncology, Cancer Control Programme, Royal Adelaide Hospital.

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