Given that cancer prevention is of great importance in all parts of the world, but especially in developing countries, in which cancer is a commonly unrecognized major cause of death, measures of early cancer detection and prevention are needed as they are rarely in place, and many therapeutic options are also not possible.

The first goal of ICPI will be to establish an international school of cancer prevention, bringing together researchers and educators in basic, clinical and epidemiological sciences with students (PhD, MD, nursing) and field workers from Europe, US and developing countries.

Because of their great clinical relevance, two main topics are so far envisaged (with more to follow):

  1. Squamous cancer (cervical, head/neck, oesophageal, lung and bladder);
  2. Breast cancer (of various types).
For each of these topics, two main aspects of cancer prevention will be pursued:

  1. Opportunities, i.e. transfer of already existing technologies from developed to developing countries for early cancer detection and chemoprevention;
  2. Challenges, i.e. identification of new markers of prognostic values, modalities of early cancer detection, chemoprevention.

As an added bonus, we note that the ICPI can help addressing emerging needs in humanitarian efforts. As nicely outlined by recent articles in Foreign Affairs, there is a very fine line between emergency aid and support for development projects: it is important to be there when an acute emergency takes place and it is important to remain there afterwards. There is also a need to move away from a restricted club of well-meaning humanitarian organizations from the developed countries to true partnerships with workers, clinicians and researchers of developing countries.


A recent example of the key role that local health workers/educators can play is their contribution to solve the recent Ebola epidemics, by convincing the general population to give up dangerous burial practices. Additional evidence in the humanitarian field points to the importance of giving out cash or vouchers for services, rather than direct help, to stimulate local initiatives and development.


The ICPI is positioned to help also in these respects. In fact, its education and development network structures, being rooted in local health professionals, will be amenable to use for emergencies, even at the time of epidemics and wars, and at the same time, they will provide employment opportunities and foster initiatives for further local developments.