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Professor Pierre Alberto: serving ESMO as outstanding oncologist, educator and mentor

ESMO is sad to learn of the death of Professor Pierre Alberto, a wise and thoughtful oncologist whose clinical innovations and educational initiatives had a lasting impact.
16 Dec 2019

An Honorary Member of ESMO, Professor Alberto was deeply committed to the principles of the organisation and made an immense contribution to its development. He played a key role in establishing the ESMO Examination for Medical Oncology in 1988, and was long-standing Chair of the Educational Committee. Developed to address the lack of recognition of medical oncologists’ clinical and academic status, the ESMO Examination is now taken by hundreds of candidates each year. It is a valuable assessment tool for practising medical oncologists and an excellent opportunity for medical oncologists in training to evaluate their knowledge.

For many years, Professor Alberto was Professor of Medical Oncology at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, where he pioneered multiple aspects of modern, integrated cancer care. Over 40 years ago, he recognised the importance of communicating with patients about their cancer and understanding the challenges that their diagnosis and treatment brought to their everyday lives. He introduced specialist cancer nurses to his practice long before they became an integral part of cancer services more widely. Professor Alberto’s juniors considered themselves fortunate in benefitting from his deep knowledge and extensive experience at a time when oncology was still in its infancy as a specialty.

After he retired, Professor Alberto continued to be a welcome, regular visitor at the University Hospital in Geneva until a few years before his death.  A modest man, he remained curious and eager to learn about latest research and advances in treatment. His caring, sensitive way of working remains imprinted on his former department. ESMO feels honoured to have had such an exceptional individual among its active members and extends its condolences to his family.

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