European Cancer Organisation

Philip Poortmans

After completing his medical studies at the University of Antwerp, in 1986, Prof. Philip Poortmans was trained as a radiation oncologist at the Middelheim and Vincentius Hospitals in Antwerp under the supervision of colleagues including Walter Van den Bogaert, Guy Langerock, Anne Strubbe, Allan Van Oosterom, Daniëlle Van de Weyngaert and Pierre Scalliet. After a short stay in Turnhout, Belgium, he started working as a radiation oncologist in Tilburg in 1991.

The increase of the number of radiation-oncologists in Tilburg from 6 to 12, has allowed them to really focus on specific topics of interest. Prof Poortmans is especially interested in breast cancer, quality assurance in clinical trials, malignant lymphoma and rare tumours. Most of his publications focus on these topics. He completed his Ph.D. thesis on quality assurance in clinical trials in breast cancer in 2005 at the University of Maastricht with Philippe Lambin and Walter Van den Bogaert as promoters.
He considers himself to be a patient doctor with strong interests and a broad experience in clinical research, education and management. He favours and stimulates a genuine multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment, the fostering of a culture of information and consent towards each patient and, last but not least, the interdisciplinary teamwork with highly skilled colleagues such as medical physicists, radiation technologists, and other experts in specific domains within radiation oncology. 

For some years, his involvement in teaching became relatively more important. Internationally, in the framework of the ESTRO School of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Prof. Poortmans serves as course director of the annual teaching course “Multidisciplinary Management of Breast Cancer”, as liaison person for all multidisciplinary course and as core member of the Educational and Teaching Committee.

In 2005, he was elected as councillor of the board of ESTRO for a term of 3 years. For 3 years, starting in 2007, he was also the representative for radiation oncology in the Multidisciplinary Oncology Committee of ESMO.

After the elections for the ESTRO presidency in 2013, he received the support from the membership to take on the task as President-Elect and, from 2014-2016, as President of the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy and Oncology.

In 2016 and 2017, Prof Poortmans served as Chair of the ECCO Oncopolicy Committee. 

After the elections of the ECCO President 2018-2019, Poortmans took up the role of ECCO President-Elect and, from 2018, as President of the European CanCer Organisation. 



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