Alberto Costa

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Board Member, European Cancer Organisation
CEO, European School of Oncology (ESO)

Alberto Costa MD is CEO of the European School of Oncology (ESO), established in Milan in 1982 as a non-profit organisation dedicated to professional education in cancer medicine. He has also been the Editor, from 2015 to 2019, of the School’s magazine, CancerWorld.

Costa was born in Biella, Northern Italy, on the 9 September 1951 and had his education in Milan: classical high school with studies of Latin and Greek followed by a degree in Medicine. He was trained in cancer surgery with a special focus on breast cancer at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori from 1980 to 1994. In 1983 he was appointed by Mediobanca as clinical and scientific adviser for the design and construction of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, where he worked as surgeon and investigator until 2000. He then moved to Pavia where he established the new breast unit at Fondazione Maugeri, that he directed until 2011. He also served as advisor for the Bank of Cyprus, to assist them in the design and construction of the Oncology Centre in Nicosia.

He led the Multimedica Group’s breast unit, in Milan, Italy, and the Canton Ticino Breast Unit, Lugano, Switzerland. Both of these units have been certified by EUSOMA (European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists) under his clinical directorship.

He was editor in chief of the journal The Breast from 2003 to 2015 and a member of the editorial board of Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. He has authored over 250 scientific publications. His H+ index is 51.

Co-founder, with Fatima Cardoso, of ABC, Advanced Breast Cancer conference, he is the recipient of several awards (including the ESMO and the Israel Cancer Association awards)

Previously he has served as Secretary General of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the Federation of European Cancer Societies (FECS). He was involved in setting up the first Europe Against Cancer programme and represented ECO (the European Cancer Organisation) on the European Commission’s Committee of Cancer Experts. He is board member of ECO and currently leads ECO’s Quality of Cancer Care Programme.

Co- founder of Europa Donna, the European Breast Cancer Coalition, he also founded Europa Uomo, the patient advocacy movement on prostate cancer and contributed to the establishment of ECPC (the European Cancer Patients Coalition) dedicating considerable time and effort to cancer patient empowerment.

At national level he has played a key role in the creation of the Italian School of Senology and in the introduction of the CME system in 2000 (Minister of Health: prof. Umberto Veronesi). He actively contributed to the establishment and development of the American Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) in New York, of which is member of the Advisory Board.

He is currently retired from clinical practice and has launched in 2012 the charity Gomitolorosa based in his native town of Biella and dedicated to the circular economy of wool. He has founded in 2019 the philanthropic movement EWE (European Wool Exchange), registered in Nicosia, Cyprus.

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Updated: October 2021