European Cancer Organisation

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European CanCer Organisation
ECCO cyan+3lineRGB 72.png
Formation2007 (1980s as FECS)
HeadquartersBrussels, Belgium
more than 60,000
27 [1]

The European Cancer Organisation (ECCO), self-styled as the European CanCer Organisation, represents the interests of over 60,000 oncology professionals and promotes the multidisciplinarity of the field.[1] The organisation connects the European cancer community by leveraging knowledge, promoting education and building awareness.[2] ECCO also plays an important role in engaging with policymakers to promote the interests of cancer patients, research as well all other members of the oncocommunity.[3] The organisation is renowned for its prestigious biennial series of multidisciplinary congresses.


In the early 1980s, a few European visionaries working in oncology laid the grounds of multidisciplinarity in cancer care, entailing that tackling cancer was a team effort that required a coordinated approach. It was a relatively new concept at the time, but 30 years later, multidisciplinarity is viewed as the best approach cancer treatment.[3]

It was consequently decided to bring together major players in cancer research, treatment, and care in order to create awareness of patients’ wishes and needs, encourage progressive thinking in cancer policy, education, and training, and continue to promote European cancer research and its application through the organisation of a multidisciplinary conference called ECCO -the European Conference on Clinical Oncology (later renamed ECCO-the European Cancer Conference).[3] To strengthen and further develop these ideas six professional societies, ESMO, ESTRO, ESSO, EACR, EONS, SIOPE legally founded FECS (Federation of European Cancer Societies).

ECCO homepage

After a period of reflection in 2006 and 2007, during which many players in oncology were consulted, FECS was transformed into a new dynamic entity: ECCO - the European CanCer Organisation.This was officially announced at the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona in September 2007, where the organisation was launched under its new name.[4]

Since then, ECCO has been building a solid reputation by continuously expanding its outreach and education through its renowned and prestigious biennial series of congresses. The organisation also provides educational programmes such as the ECCO e-Learning as well as an online patient information section driven by dedicated focus groups in the form of officially appointed committees.

Mission statement[edit]

As a non-profit organisation, ECCO is devoted to achieve its charitable mission as outlined below:

• Uphold the right of all European cancer patients to have access to the best possible treatment and care

• Promote interaction between all organisations involved in cancer research, education, treatment and care at European level.

• Provide the unifying voice of European societies representing professionals in oncology and proactively engage with policy makers in driving oncopolicy in Europe.

ECCO aims to raise awareness and improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of cancer patients. In order to fulfill this aim, the cancer community’s professionals gather at the premier European multidisciplinary oncology congress, organised by ECCO.[5]


Main Entrance at the Stockholm Congress

In the uneven years, on a biennial basis, ECCO organises, on behalf of its six founding member societies, a Multidisciplinary European Cancer Congress including a trade exhibition. The purpose of these congresses is to provide true multidisciplinary education opportunities to oncology healthcare professionals and provide a unique platform of multidisciplinary debate improving patient care throughout the EU. The congress programme caters to all large tumour types and medical sub disciplines. All sessions are designed to encourage and advocate a multidisciplinary approach, in parallel they will also provide interaction, networking and debate opportunities with EU policy makers as well as patient advocacy groups.

Since the idea of a multidisciplinary approach was developed some 30 years ago 15 editions of the European Cancer Conference have taken place. With multidisciplinary thinking becoming increasingly more popular, the Congress has matured over time to attract a little over 15,000 participants. In 2009 it was relaunched as the 15th ECCO – 34th ESMO Multidisciplinary Congress. The title was further developed to The European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in partnership with ECCO, ESMO, ESTRO, ESSO, EACR, EONS and SIOPE in 2011, and was attended by almost 16,000 people. Two years later, in 2013, the 17th ECCO - 36th ESMO Congress in Amsterdam, with more than 18,000 attendees, provided superlative surroundings for all participants to leverage knowledge, promote education and build awareness about oncology. The 18th ECCO - 40th ESMO Congress took place in 2015 in Vienna

The ICC during the ECCO 15 Congress in Berlin
Year Venue Number of participants
2001 Lisbon 9,033
2003 Copenhagen 10,494
2005 Paris 11,448
2007 Barcelona 13,212
2009 Berlin 14,918
2011 Stockholm 15,931
2013 Amsterdam 18,482
2015 Vienna


A busy hall at the Stockholm Congress

ECCO's Education Programme consists of educational initiatives of multidisciplinary appeal that have been specifically tailored to meet the scientific, educational, and professional needs of oncology specialists.

Currently, there is a variety of educational formats including courses, fellowships and e-learning aiming at providing the European cancer community with further opportunities for professional growth and training. These encompass elective courses in oncology, workshops on clinical trials, and Oncovideos.[6]

With the purpose of encouraging medical students to specialise in an oncology related discipline, ECCO is organising two elective courses in oncology for medical students every year in August. The programme incorporates both theoretical and practical training from experienced teachers in the form of plenary sessions, case study presentations, daily special visits to various oncology departments and group course projects.

A workshop entitled “Methods in Clinical Cancer Research” is held in the small Swiss town of Flims each year in June in partnership with the AACR, EORTC, and ESMO. The purpose of the workshop is to provide the necessary tools required to learn the essentials of clinical trial design, in hope to develop a team of well-trained researchers.[7]


Oncovideos is an EU-funded project, where ECCO acts as the coordinating body. The project consists of an online library of 24 videos demonstrating standard procedures relating to various oncology disciplines. The procedures were filmed at 18 different cancer teaching partner institutions, and they provide the core content of the video sessions.[8] Special features enabling the users to watch, listen, read, download, and provide feedback, are included. The purpose of the project is to assist in the delivery of continuing medical education to health professionals wanting to develop and acquire practical vocational skills in oncology.

Public Affairs department[edit]

Since 2008, ECCO is engaged in EU policy and advocacy through the creation of its Public Affairs department.

The ECCO Public Affairs department represents its 24 Member Organisations at EU level on wider policy issues and is the voice of consensus of European oncology professionals as the only multidisciplinary and multiprofessional organisation of-its-kind. Through (1) intelligence-gathering, (2) analysis, (3) strategic planning and (4) advocacy, ECCO liaises with the oncology community and policy-makers in matters related to EU cancer health and research policy.[9]

The department works closely with the ECCO Policy Committee (PLC), a multidisciplinary group of professionals from the European cancer community, to help set its policy priorities in coordination with the ECCO Board.

The Public Affairs department also provides the Secretariat for the European Academy of Cancer Sciences, a body of expert oncology scientists and clinicians. Created in 2009, it is an independent body and aims to provide scientific advice on cancer policies at EU and national level.


Cover of the European Journal of Cancer

ECCO is the official partner of the monthly scientific journal, namely the European Journal of Cancer (EJC). It is an international comprehensive journal containing news and experimental oncology, clinical oncology, editorial comments, translational oncology, review articles, and original research.

The organisation is also one of the four founding members of an online open access cancer journal initiated by the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, ecancermedicalscience, where it acts as the multimedia, scientific, and educational partner.

Furthermore, ECCO is involved in another online project, namely the FP7-funded European Commission project, eurocancercoms, that seeks to integrate cancer information using cutting edge technology to cater a unique platform for providing cancer intelligence to the public, patients and oncology professionals.


  1. ^ "European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) - UICC". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  2. ^ "PageNotFound". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "PageNotFound". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  4. ^ "PageNotFound" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ "PageNotFound". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  6. ^ "PageNotFound". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  7. ^ "PageNotFound". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
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  9. ^ "PageNotFound". Retrieved 18 January 2017.