ESMO Women for Oncology Award

The ESMO Women for Oncology Award recognises an ESMO member who has significantly contributed to supporting the career development of women in oncology. This important award acknowledges someone who has actively worked to sensitise organisations to perceive the female oncology workforce as a valuable resource

2017 – Frances Shepherd, Canada

The ESMO Women for Oncology Award was presented to Frances Shepherd during the ESMO 2017 Congress.

Frances Shepherd is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and is known worldwide for her key role in the design and conduct of research studies evaluating new therapies and treatment strategies in lung cancer.

Shepherd served as Chair of the Lung Cancer Committee of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group for 19 years, and was President of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) from 2003 to 2005.

In 2001, she was named the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research, at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, becoming the first holder of this esteemed research position with a primary goal of investigating new treatments for lung cancer. She has designed and led more than 100 clinical trials over the past three decades and her studies have changed treatment and outcomes for patients with lung cancer worldwide.


I am thrilled and honoured, and see it as a culmination of my very gratifying and rewarding career in medical oncology over the past 30 years. During this time, I have seen women make enormous advances in medicine in general, and medical oncology in particular.

Frances Shepherd, 2017 ESMO Women for Oncology Award winner

“Frances Shepherd has been a true role model, supporting and furthering the career of women in oncology, on top of making outstanding academic contributions in the field of lung cancer. She is a devoted advocate for equality in oncology careers - irrespective of gender, with a particular emphasis on the difficulties women might encounter when pursuing their professional goals.” noted Christoph Zielinski on behalf of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee.

Previous ESMO Women for Oncology winners

  • 2016 - Sumitra Thongprasert, Thailand
  • 2015 - Enriqueta Felip, Spain