History of UICC

Explore the evolution of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) since its founding in 1933, stemming from the global imperative to address cancer, and observe its contemporary significance as a catalyst for collaboration, information sharing, and advocacy in the sphere of cancer awareness and prevention.

Old books on a library shelf

The origins of UICC

At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a growing recognition for the need for international cooperation in the campaign against cancer. At the International Medical Congress in Madrid in October 1933, it was decided to establish a permanent international organisation against cancer: the Unio Internationalis Contra Cancrum, known under the acronym ‘UICC’ and in English since 2010 as the Union for International Cancer Control.

Dr Jacques Bandaline, later the first Director of the new organisation, made the proposal, which was voted unanimously and greeted by prolonged applause.:

"I wish to move a motion calling for the creation of an international organisation to promote the fight against cancer through research, therapy and the development of social activities."

The first general assembly of the new organisation was held in Paris in 1935, with representatives from 67 national cancer organisations and 43 countries. Justin Godart of France was elected President and he remained at the helm of the organisation until 1953, with UICC moving its headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland in 1948. 

From its earliest history, UICC has been dedicated to supporting organisations on the ground with several knowledge sharing and capacity building initiatives. The Fellowships programme, which is still ongoing, dates back to 1962 and has adapted to the current global context with a virtual offer. 

UICC’s heritage is also strongly anchored in research and science. In 1953, UICC established a Special Committee on Clinical Stage Classification under the Chairmanship of Prof. Pierre Denoix, who had developed between 1943 and 1952 what has become the globally recognised standard for classifying the extent of the spread of cancer tumours in a person’s body: the TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours (TNM). UICC has since continuously updated and published the TNM Classification, now in its 8th edition.

In 1966, UICC also established the International Journal of Cancer, universally recognised as a leading publication for original papers and review articles covering the full spectrum of topics in clinical and experimental cancer research.

Since then, UICC has grown to embrace organisations engaged in all aspects of cancer prevention and control: voluntary cancer societies, research and treatment centres, public health authorities, patient support networks and advocacy groups, and ministries of health.

UICC in the new millennium

Over the years, UICC has fostered the development of cancer institutions, the sharing and exchange of knowledge, the transfer of skills and technologies, and the education of professionals engaged in cancer control.

In the 21st century, UICC has embarked on new directions, with convening, capacity building, and knowledge, advocacy and policy at the core of its activities. UICC continues its tradition as a solidly science-based organisation, while putting greater emphasis on the public health perspective and the quality of life of people living with cancer.

Without the efforts of members, partners, donors and cancer experts throughout the world, UICC would not be able to have such a wide-reaching impact in global cancer control.

Read the full history:

UICC Current and Past Presidents

Term, President name and nationality
  • 2022 – 2024: Professor Jeff Dunn (Australia)
  • 2020 – 2022: Professor Anil D'Cruz (India)
  • 2018 – 2020: H.R.H. Princess Dina Mired of Jordan (Jordan)
  • 2016 – 2018: Professor Sanchia Aranda (Australia)
  • 2014 – 2016: Professor Tezer Kutluk (Turkey)
  • 2012 – 2014: Professor Mary Gospodarowicz (Canada)
  • 2010 – 2012: Dr Eduardo Cazap (Argentina)
  • 2008 – 2010: Dr David Hill (Australia)
  • 2006 – 2008: Dr Franco Cavalli (Switzerland)
  • 2002 – 2006: Dr John Seffrin (USA)
  • 1998 – 2002: Dr E. Robinson (Israel)
  • 1994 – 1998: Dr N.J. Gray (Australia)
  • 1990 – 1994: Professor S. Eckhardt (Hungary)
  • 1986 – 1990: Professor C.G. Schmidt (Germany)
  • 1982 – 1986: Professor A.C.C. Junqueira (Brazil)
  • 1978 – 1982: Professor U. Veronesi (Italy)
  • 1973 – 1978: Professor P. Denoix (France)
  • 1970 – 1973: Dr W.U. Gardner (USA)
  • 1966 – 1970: Dr N.N. Blokhin (Russia)
  • 1962 – 1966: Professor A. Haddow (United Kingdom)
  • 1958 – 1962: Dr V. Khanolkar (India)
  • 1953 – 1958: Professor J.H. Maisin (Belgium)
  • 1935 – 1953: Mr Justin Godart (France)

UICC Secretary-Generals/Chief Executives

The Secretary-General position was eliminated in 2002 after a change of UICC's constitution. UICC is now led by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

  • 1974 – 2000: Dr G.P. Murphy (USA)
  • 1966 – 1974: Dr R.M. Taylor (Canada)
  • 1964 – 1966: Dr M.J. Shear (USA)
  • 1953 – 1963: Dr H. Dorn (USA)
  • 1935 – 1953: Professor J.H. Maisin (Belgium)

Past World Cancer Congresses

  • UPCOMING: 27th GENEVA, Switzerland 17-19 September 2024
  • 26th GENEVA, Switzerland 18 - 20 October 2022
  • 25th KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia 1 - 4 October 2018
  • 24th PARIS, France 31 October - 3 November 2016
  • 23rd MELBOURNE, Australia December 3-6, 2014 
  • 22nd MONTRÉAL, Canada August 27-30, 2012
  • 21st SHENZHEN, China August 18-21, 2010 
  • 20th GENEVA, Switzerland August 27-31, 2008 
  • 19th WASHINGTON, U.S.A. July 8-12, 2006 
  • 18th OSLO, Norway June 30 - July 4, 2002 
  • 17th RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil  August 1998  
  • 16th NEW DELHI, India October-November 1994 
  • 15th HAMBURG, Germany August 1990 
  • 14th BUDAPEST, Hungary September 1986 
  • 13th SEATTLE, U.S.A. October 1982 
  • 12th BUENOS AIRES, Argentina October 1978 
  • 11th FLORENCE, Italy May 1974 
  • 10th HOUSTON, U.S.A. October 1970 
  • 9th TOKYO, Japan July 1966 
  • 8th MOSCOW, Russia July 1962 
  • 7th LONDON, U.K. July 1958 
  • 6th SAO PAULO, Brazil July 1954 
  • 5th PARIS, France September 1950 
  • 4th ST. LOUIS, U.S.A September 1947 
  • 3rd ATLANTIC CITY, U.S.A. September 1939 
  • 2nd BRUSSELS, Belgium September 1936 
  • 1st MADRID, Spain October 1933

About UICC

7th World Cancer Congress in London, United Kingdom in 1958

9th World Cancer Congress in Tokyo, Japan in October 1966

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Last update

Monday 28 August 2023

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