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Umberto Veronesi Edit Profile

politician , Surgeon

Umberto Veronesi, Italian surgeon. Recipient National award, American Cancer Society, 1977, Gold medal, Italian Ministry Health, 1978, Lucy Wortham James Clinical Research award, Society Surgical Oncology, 1982, King Faisal International prize, Saudi Arabia, 2003, Distinguished Service award for Science Achievement, American Society Clinical Oncology, 2003, Pathfinder award, American Society Breast Disease, 2006, others.


Veronesi, Umberto was born on November 28, 1925 in Milan, Italy.


Graduate, Milan University, 1951. Doctor of Medicine (honorary), Milan University, 2005. Doctor of Medicine (honorary), University Cordoba, Argentina, 1988.

Doctor of Medicine (honorary), University Porte Alegre, Brazil, 1989. Doctor of Medicine (honorary), University Athens, Greece, 1993. Doctor of Medicine (honorary), University Antwerp, Belgium, 1995.


He obtained his degree in medicine from the University of Milan in 1952, and soon decided to dedicate his professional activity to the study and treatment of cancer. After spending brief periods in England and France, he joined the Italian Cancer Institute in Milan as a volunteer. Since then, he has supported and promoted scientific research aimed at improving conservative surgical techniques, including sentinel lymph node biopsy, which has meant that axillary dissection in breast cancer with clinically negative lymph nodes is no longer performed.

He also contributed to breast cancer prevention conducting studies on tamoxifen and retinoids and verifying their capabilities to prevent the formation of carcinoma. He has always been an activist in anti-tobacco campaigns. In 1994 he founded the European Institute of Oncology, which he still directs.

He was appointed President of the Scientific Committee of the Italy-USA Foundation in 2010. 2000-2001 Minister of Health under the Amato II Cabinet. On 25 April 2000 he was appointed to the Amato II Cabinet as the minister of health and was in office until 11 June 2001.

He was instrumental in the promotion of the anti-smoking in public places act. 2010-2011 Chairman of Italy's Nuclear Safety Agency. Over the years, Veronesi has public expressed his views on several ethical issues, in interviews, televised debates and in his books.

He supports active euthanasia, affirming the right of any individual to freely dispose of his life when it becomes unbearable due to suffering, pain or loss of dignity. He advocates the necessity to regulate euthanasia at a national level, citing Dutch legislation as a good starting point. He is currently promoting a campaign for the introduction of living will as a legally binding agreement between the doctor and the incapacitated patient.

Veronesi supports genetically modified organisms as a mean to produce food with higher nutritional capabilities and deprived of potentially carcinogenic substance. He criticized the current dominating opposition to GMOs as due to scarce knowledge of science. Veronesi is an ethical vegetarian.

Veronesi made public statements in favor of incinerators as «the only sensible way to deal with garbage disposal», and being «not dangerous for public health», during the TV show "Che tempo che fa" on the 20 January 2008. Some researchers such as Antonietta Gatti or Stefano Montanari dispute these statements.


  • Knight Grand Cross OMRI (born 29 November 1925) is an Italian oncologist and politician, internationally known for his contributions on prevention and treatment of breast cancer throughout a career spanning over fifty years. Veronesi is known as the founder of breast-conserving surgery in breast cancer treatment with the invention of the technique of quadrantectomy which challenged the idea, then dominating among surgeons, that cancer could only be treated with aggressive surgery.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Surgical Anatomy, 1961, Clinical Oncology, 1973, Europe Textbook on Surgical Oncology, 1989. Director: Journal Clinical and Experimental Oncology.


2008 Main candidate in Milan of the Democrate Party (Veltroni) to the Italian Senate.


Founder Umberto Veronesi Foundation for Science Progress. Member of International Society Chemoprevention, Federation of European Cancer Societies, European Society Mastology, European Society Surgical Oncology (founder, chairman since 1982), European Organization for Research in Cancer Treatment (president 1985), International Union Against Cancer 1978-1982.


Married Susy Razon, April 13, 1961. Children: Paolo, Marco, Alberto, Pietro, Giulia, Silvia, Francesco.

Susy Razon

Silvia Veronesi

Giulia Veronesi

Marco Veronesi

Pietro Veronesi

Francesco Veronesi

Paolo Veronesi

Alberto Veronesi