EBCC expresses its condolences to the family of Umberto Veronesi


veronesiProfessor Umberto Veronesi, a breast cancer surgeon and politician, died on 8 November, aged 90. He dedicated his life to cancer and was instrumental in bringing about major improvements in the treatment of breast cancer and melanoma, particularly through multidisciplinary management.
Professor Veronesi was key in founding a number of societies and institutes including ECCO (formerly FECS), ESSO and IEO, where he was a director for over 20 years.
In 1986, he and a group of breast cancer specialists founded EUSOMA, The European Society of Mastology, (later renamed The European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists), to address optimal treatment of breast diseases, through consensus projects, guidelines and accreditation.
In 1993, at the European Society of Mastology (EUSOMA) Congress in Paris, Professor Veronesi presented the concept of a European organisation involving women in the fight against breast cancer, having seen how powerful women’s advocacy for breast cancer had been in the United States. The response was immediate and a small group of women representing various European countries began laying the foundations for EUROPA DONNA – the European Breast Cancer Coalition.
Professor Veronesi was determined to disseminate breast cancer research results much faster and to a wider audience than had previously been the case. With Professor Emmanuel van der Schueren and Professor Martine Piccart, he began to discuss how this could be done. One idea was to enlarge the EORTC Breast Cancer Working Conference to include more breast cancer related specialists and groups, thereby increasing the flow of communication and information.
In June 1995, EUSOMA and EUROPA DONNA agreed to give up their annual meetings and to join forces with EORTC to organise a biennial European Breast Cancer Conference. The 1st European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC) was held in Florence in September 1998.
We are coming up to the 11th Edition of this conference and the principles set down by Professors Veronesi, van der Schueren and Piccart are still upheld.
Umberto Veronesi will be remembered as an innovator, pioneer, a man with a mesmerising personality whose goal in life was to help women to fight breast cancer. He will be missed, but his legacy will continue..