European School of Oncology and The Oncologist: Announcing a New Strategic Alliance in Cancer Education

Volume 18, Number 1, European Edition - January 2013

European School of Oncology and The Oncologist: Announcing a New Strategic Alliance in Cancer Education


The Oncologist introduced European Perspectives in April 2012 as a way to serve the specific needs of the European oncology community. Using a multimedia approach to highlight breakthroughs in cancer care and research and to address pressing issues of relevance to European physicians, scientists, and cancer patients, the section has evolved as a vigorous pan-European dialogue conducted with the cancer community.

As part of the Journal’s continuing engagement with the European oncology community and recognising the role that the European School of Oncology (ESO) has played in cancer education in Europe, The Oncologist is pleased to announce a new, collaborative agreement with ESO. As part of this strategic alliance, The Oncologist will publish Opinion Pieces, Commentaries and Cancer Focus Reports in a variety of publishing platforms. This agreement also dedicates a section within The Oncologist’s European Newsletter to ESO activities.

Drawn together by their shared goals and missions, The Oncologist and ESO each have an educational imperative at their core. The Oncologistwas founded in the belief that, in order to ensure the highest level of patient care, clinicians of all subspecialties should share a common information base. In the pursuit of that goal, the Journal publishes comprehensive reviews and rigorous research with clear, practical clinical implications. Its journal Continuing Medical Education (CME) program, accredited by the Society for Translational Oncology (STO), has awarded more than 55,000 CME credits since the founding of its CME program in 2001.

ESO is dedicated to the goal of educating clinicians, counting more than 20,000 alumni among its ranks. ESO’s “Learning to Care” motto reflects the educational ethos of the organisation, which traces its roots back to its original benefactor, Angelo Campiglio, who, stricken by a late cancer diagnosis, secured the financial future of ESO by donating the entire family inheritance, not to research but “to fund education, because my problem was misdiagnosis and late treatment”.

The Origins of the European School of Oncology (ESO)

The concepts of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), dedicated cancer centres and cancer-focused Continuing Medical Education (CME) initiatives are all integral parts of the continuum of oncology care as it is practiced today. In the early 1980s, however, medical oncology in Europe was only just emerging as a distinct discipline. Surgical and radiation oncology were also in their infancy in Europe and there was no clear appreciation of the need for interdisciplinary cancer care. It was in this somewhat challenging background that ESO, the brain child of Italian surgeon and oncology innovator Umberto Veronesi, was founded in 1982.Veronesi and fellow surgeon Alberto Costa brought together a group of acknowledged leaders in Europe who shared the duo’s vision of a pan-European Oncology Education forum: Franco Cavalli, a Swiss haematologist and founding member of the European School of Medical Oncology (ESMO); Louis Denis, a Belgian urologist involved in the establishment of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC); Michael Peckham, a UK-based international leader in radiotherapy; and Bob Pinedo, the Dutch “father” of translational medicine and current co-editor of The Oncologist (European Edition).

The transnational and multidisciplinary nature of these “founding fathers”, together with their ethos of cooperation, was crucial in developing an organisation that, from its humble beginnings on the grassy slopes of Monte Verita (Switzerland) in 1982,would provide over 750 courses to the brightest trainees of the European oncology community by its 30th Anniversary in 2012. They formulated what has now become ESO’s mission: “To contribute through education to reducing the number of cancer deaths, and to ensuring early diagnosis, optimal treatment and holistic patient care”.

Learning to Care: Putting ESO’s Educational Philosophy into Practice

ESO’s educational philosophy reflects the holistic nature of cancer care and the need for education in areas as diverse as cancer biology, translational and clinical oncology, psycho-oncology and end of life care. Cancer nursing also represents a key focus. Indeed, The Oncologist’s Editor-in-Chief, Bruce Chabner, when he was the NCI’s Director of the Division of Cancer Treatment, advised ESO of the critical role that research nurses would play in this initiative. ESO subsequently partnered with the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), providing multi-specialty joint training courses for cancer nurses. ESO has embraced the interdisciplinary nature of cancer care,particularly in its flagship Masterclass in Clinical Oncology for bright and motivated young oncology healthcare professionals.

ESO and the Establishment of Continuing Medical Education (CME) in Europe

Regular updating of knowledge and skills through accredited CME programmes is a key component in the development of the oncology healthcare practitioner. ESO played an important role inspearheading the establishment of CME in Europe, particularly through the publication of a key advisory report in the European Journal of Cancer [1]. This report outlined the need for pan-European approaches in continuing cancer medical education, highlighting how the disparity in survival rates for testicular cancer patients in Europe was directly linked to lack of understanding of new approaches in diagnosis and treatment. Appreciation of this gap in knowledge led to the establishment of the Accreditation Council of Oncology in Europe (ACOE).

The overarching mission of both The Oncologist and ESO is the comprehensive, ongoing education of clinical oncology specialists across the globe. It is, therefore, fitting that these two groups should join together in collaborative pursuit of that goal. We look forward to a long and productive engagement between The Oncologist and ESO.


1. Armand JP, Alberto P, Costa A et al. European sion of the European Communities for the “Europe Education in Oncology within the European Union-School of Oncology Advisory Report to the Commis-Against Cancer Programme.” Continuing Medical Eur J Cancer 1994;30A:1145– 8.

Received January 14, 2013; accepted for publication January 16, 2013. ©AlphaMed Press 1083-7159/2013/$20.00/0

Section Editors’ Note: We invite you to explore the associated online material, including a video roundtable with Franco Cavalli, Chairman, ESO Scientific Committee, and Alberto Costa, Director of ESO, and a video interview with “founding father” Bob Pinedo, Co-Editor, The Oncologist (European Edition).