Maria Magdalena Dąbska (1921 – 2014) was a Polish pathologist and oncologist.

Dąbska was a hero of the Warsaw Resurrection of 1944. She survived deportation to Germany, graduated from medical school in Gdańsk and pursued a career in pathology. Her research interests included breast cancer, sweat gland tumors, cervical cancer, keratoacanthoma, soft tissue sarcomas, bone pathology, parachordoma, and melanoma.

Dąbska specialised in diagnosing neoplasms by combining the microscopic findings with the clinical picture. A process initially termed pathomorphology or Clinicopathology at the histoclinic of Laskowski, is now better known as surgical pathology.

The Dąbska tumor (1969) is the cutaneous tumour named in honour of the female pathologist.

  • Born Maria Magdalena Suchy on July 20, 1921 in Brodnica, Poland.
  • 1939-1944 – Took part in the underground independence movement as a member of the Home Guard in Warsaw. This culminated in the 63 day battle of the Warsaw Uprising between the Polish resistance and the Nazi Occupying Army in 1944. Dabska was captured and taken as a civilian, along with her mother, to the German internment camp Stalag VI-C Oberlangen until the end of the war.
  • 1945 – Returned to Poland after the war. Enrolled at the Medical University of Gdańsk (Akademia Medyczna w Gdańsku) and after graduation worked in the Gdańsk pathology department where she completed her post graduate training. She then worked at the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology with Prof Józef Laskowski (1900-1970), the Institute Director and Chief of Pathology.
  • 1953 – Married Krzysztof Dąbski, changing last name from Suchy to Dąbska. One year later their only child, Krzysztof (Christopher) Dąbski, Jr, was born.
  • 1957 – Professor Laskowski sent her for 6 months to Prof Rupert Alan Willis (1898–1980) at the University of Leeds, as he was the world’s foremost oncologic pathologist
  • 1960 – Department of Cancer Pathology at the Institute of Oncology in Warsaw specialising in oncological histopathology under the guidance of Laskowski
  • 1968 – Worked at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKC), she worked closely with Prof Philip Lieberman
  • 1969 – Offered a prestigious position at the World Health Organization in Jakarta, Indonesia, but declined in order to continue her career in Warsaw. Published “Malignant endovascular papillary angioendothelioma of the skin in childhood” which earned her international acclaim.
  • 1970-1982 – Dąbska succeeded Laskowski as Chief of Pathology at the Department of Cancer Pathology, Warsaw. During this time she published a small series on soft tissue and bone tumors for which the term parachordoma was coined. She was always very active in teaching, especially in conducting postgraduate courses in oncologic pathology for pathologists and for physicians of other specialties from all over Poland. As Chief of Pathology, she was recognized as a national authority in tumor pathology, conducting between 1000 and 1500 consultations annually on specimens submitted to her from hospitals and pathology departments throughout Poland.
  • 1982 -1988 – Her last 7 years of practice were at the Jung-Stilling Hospital,Academic Teaching Hospital of the University of Bonn in Siegen with Prof Gunther Schimmer, as Dąbska and her physician son Christopher were trapped in Germany in December, 1981, when martial law was imposed in Poland.
  • 1988 – Retired to Hallandale, Florida
  • 2006 – Returned to live in Warsaw, Poland
  • 2012 – Krzyżem Komandorskim Orderu Odrodzenia Polski – for outstanding achievements in research and teaching activities, for merits for the development of medical science in Poland and in the world, and for building the foundations of Polish oncology.
  • Died 20 July 2014

Medical Eponyms
Dąbska tumor (1969)

Rare low-grade angiosarcoma also known as malignant endovascular papillary angioendothelioma of childhood. Slow-growing intradermal nodule which is violaceous, pink or bluish black in coloration that usually comes to medical attention when 2–3 cm in diameter. It has a favourable prognosis with wide local excision being the treatment of choice for local disease.

Dąbska’s original series was composed of 6 children, aged 4 months to 15 years, with ranging from enlarging intradermal tumors to diffuse firm cutaneous infiltrations. Four cases were congenital without metastases; 2 were discovered in the 7th and 14th months of life, both with lymph node metastases.

Since 1953 we have followed, at the Institute of Oncology in Warsaw, a distinctive type of malignant vascular neoplasm of the skin in children, characterized by remarkable intravascular papillary proliferations of atypical endothelium. We have called this skin neoplasm “malignant endovascular papillary angioendothelioma.” The tumor shows a marked ability to spread by local invasion and in some instances by secondary deposits in the regional lymph nodes. During a 14-year period (1953-1967), we collected 6 cases of this interesting phenomenon.

Dąbska 1969

Major Publications


Graduated from Southampton Medical School in 2017 with BMBS. Working in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Emergency Department in Perth, Australia.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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