Umberto Veronesi is a surgeon who has devoted the greater part of his professional life to exploring the paths of research with the aim of improving the treatment and the quality of life for patients with cancer.
It was he who, on the basis of controlled clinical trials, first contributed to the development of the conservative treatment of breast cancer. He first demonstrated that in the case of small cancer of the breast it is safe to perform a wide resection followed by radiotherapy and preserve the breast, thus, obviating the mutilating procedure of mastectomy. More recently he has developed new researches on sentinel node biopsy procedure to avoid axillary dissection when the lymph nodes are not involved. Very recently he has reconsidered the procedures of postoperative radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery, introducing the technique of intraoperative radiotherapy with electrons.
In the last 20 years he has devoted his interests to the prevention of breast cancer conducting two major randomized studies aimed at the reduction of the risk of breast cancer in normal women with retinoids and tamoxifen.
By founding the International Melanoma Group, of which he was Chief Investigator for 20 years, he advocated a conservative approach to melanoma showing that prophylactic lymph node dissection could safely be avoided.
In 1982, he founded the European School of Oncology, which has since become a point of reference throughout Europe. The European Society of Surgical Oncology was also founded by Umberto Veronesi.
He was President of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, and of the Federation of European Cancer Societies (FECS). He was Founder and first President of the European Cancer Society of Mastology.
He has been awarded “Honoris Causa” in Medicine by 10 Universities worldwide.
He has received innumerable prizes, and in March 2003 he was awarded the “2003 King Faisal International Prize award” from Saudi Arabia.
Professor Veronesi is the author of 704 scientific publications and 12 Oncological Treatises.
He was Minister of Health in the Italian Government from April 2000 to June 2001.