History of our Foundation

ECP was established in the early 80ties by a group of pioneers when it became obvious that cancer was a preventable disease in a similar way as cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.  The founders came from different European countries under the strong visionary leadership of Professor Michael J. Hill.  And Europe was considered as a kind of laboratory since the many countries had clearly distinct lifestyles.  Comparisons were made for example between the South with a Mediterranean kind of nutrition and the Scandinavian countries; between East and West.  Combined with epidemiology from the rest of the world, cancer prevention did emerge as reputable science with powerful impact on cancer prevalence.

Young researchers, including myself, were encouraged by their universities to join this fresh breeze in science and started to unveil the causes of cancer through epidemiology, laboratory and clinical research.  Molecular biology appeared almost simultaneously along with technical innovations in the hospital with impact on cancer causation but also on early detection of cancer.  International research, although traditionally restricted to national funding mechanisms, got a stimulus because political Europe was becoming a reality. Annual meetings, integrated scientific research, and easier travel made international networking possible in particular because of the enhanced information flow and last but not least because of the internet.


It became clear that ECP needed another major and dedicated platform, a Journal, and in 1992 the European Journal of Cancer Prevention was a fact.  Scientific research groups could publish their work more reliably among PEERs.

But medicine exploded also with splendid new technologies, for example in medical imaging with the coming of ultrasound, CT-scans, MRI, PET and medical treatments, mainly based on proper molecular biology work.  These clinical advances looked more appealing than we are used to in prevention. The medical device and pharmaceutical industry boomed in the 90ties and the early 21st century.  The computerized informatics entered the hospitals at a speed never seen. The confidence in these new diagnostics and therapeutics draw the attention away from prevention. Budgets for prevention came under substantial pressure.  It is one of the major achievements of ECP to remain adept to cancer prevention during this euphoria of medical technology. In 2003, when the inspiring president Mike Hill himself became victim of this dreadful disease, ECP and even the Journal came in danger.

But it became clear that cancer mortality was only slightly affected by the newer storm of medical technical power and that cancer prevention remained one of the major tools to fight the disease.  ECP and, more importantly, the Journal survived and experienced a new growth that was stronger than ever before.  New members, in particular experts in molecular biology, statisticians, nutrition experts, and clinicians took up their responsibilities. The impact factor of the Journal is strongly rising, submissions are doubling, and the message is coming from and going to all parts of the world. ECP has again the possibility to provide grants to young researcher to travel and to gain knowledge and communicate their findings to an international audience.  Prevention is back again and with enormous power to reduce cancer burden worldwide.


It is obvious that the population should know how lifestyle affects cancer risk and how individuals can do something to decrease their personal risk.

There are a wealth of channels and media available to inform the population and these have the responsibility to bring the right messages and here ECP is a preferred source where they can obtain PEER reviewed scientific materials.

The party that is excellent in implementing prevention strategies are the many governmental bodies world-wide. As we know from history and contemporary research, governments can have major impact in protecting the population through infrastructures that makes life more healthier.
In addition, the population can be informed about lifestyles such as smoking, nutrition, physical activities etc. in particular for schools and children. But at the same time, governments can help in registration and data collection and provide content for new scientific research.

The scientific community increasingly puts energy in providing new knowledge and tools.

Clinical, laboratory and epidemiological research in cancer prevention can be found in almost every university. Pharmaceutical and medical device industry proved to be a valuable partner as well.

The European Journal of Cancer Prevention is one of the major platforms where this research is centralized, evaluated and published.

The health care system, traditionally dealing with patients and families, can have a major impact of lifestyle and should be at regular times informed about new possibilities in cancer prevention implementation programs. For example, the medical administration of primary and secondary schools can contribute to a healthier lifestyle for children. And not to forget, family practitioners can inform almost every single person about bad habits and pick up individuals at increased risk for certain cancers.

ECP organises international meetings to bring these actors from very different disciplines together around a topic of mutual interest, but at the same time provides external support to different national meetings and sister organizations.


james scott

President 1981-1991

(Leeds, United Kingdom)

michael hill

PRESIDENT 1992-2003

(London, United Kingdom)

jaak ph janssen

PRESIDENT 2004-2022

(Hasselt, Belgium)

Actual honorary President.

giovanni corso

president 2023-current

(Milano, Italy)

Actual President.

Executive board

Jaak Ph. Janssens

(Hasselt, Belgium)

Carlo La Vecchia

(Milan, Italy)

Alain Maskens

(Brussels, Belgium)

Gad Rennert

(Haifa, Israel)

Francesco Petrella

(Milan, Italy)

Patrick Benusiglio

(Paris, France)

Mark E. Robson

(New York, USA)

Adriana Albini

(Milan, Italy)

Viviana Galimberti

(Milan, Italy)

Franco Roviello

(Siena, Italy)

Fátima Carneiro

(Porto, Portugal)


Belinda J. Johnston

(London, UK)

Secretary Office

Maria Grazia Villardita

(Milan, Italy)

Grant office

Francesca Magnoni

(Milan, Italy)

Koen Kas

(Antwerp, Belgium)

Legal Counsel

Rocchina Corso

(Avellino, Italy)


(Milan, Italy)