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Report. The UICC Familial Cancer and Prevention Project 1991-2003

Taking the family history of cancer patients is a low technology approach which can be applied all over the world. It is a tool to identify high risk persons and families and to down-stage disease by targeted preventive and therapeutic approaches. Families with cancer members are motivated by this approach.

The operational definition of familial cancer is: two or more affected first degree relatives. This definition applies to 10% to 30% of all cancer patients.

The UICC Familial Cancer and Prevention Project was launched in 1991 by Dr. K. Aoki, Dr. M.M. Burger and Dr. W. Weber in Lugano, Switzerland. It promoted familial cancer control worldwide until 2003. The activities were:

  1. 1.

    Establishment of nodal points in Australia (D.J.B. St. John, R. Scott), Egypt (R. Bedwani), Japan (J. Utsunomiya), Poland (J. Lubinski), USA (J.J. Mulvihill) and Switzerland (M.M. Burger, W. Weber).

  2. 2.

    Establishment of the Familial Cancer Database - FaCD

  3. 3.

    A simple family history questionnaire has been developed for comparisons of family cancer data in different countries.

  4. 4.

    Ten project meetings were held in Brazil, India, Italy, Japan 2×, USA 2× and Switzerland 3×.

  5. 5.

    Four educational seminars took place (in Belgium, Israel and Switzerland 2×).

  6. 6.

    The first international symposium was held in Japan.

  7. 7.

    An international research conference took place in Switzerland.

  8. 8.

    An international symposium on familial cancer and prevention in 1997 in Kobe, Japan.

  9. 9.

    Combined Project and Oncology Conferences in 1999 in Karachi, Pakistan, in Alexandria, Egypt, and in 2001 in Beijing, China.

  10. 10.

    Initiation of family studies in Poland and neighbouring countries.

  11. 11.

    Pilot study: Cancer in first-degree relatives of Latin American women with cervical cancer.

  12. 12.

    International conference on familial cancer, 5-7 June 2003, Oklahoma City, USA.

The ending UICC project is transformed into an international network with minimal infrastructure: Familial Cancer Prevention, Detection and Care Network (FCPDCN). The existing nodal points continue to work as framework of an informal and open communication system: Asia: J. Utsunomiya, Australia: R. Scott, Europe + Africa: J. Lubinski and W. Weber, USA: J.J. Mulvihill, Central America: M. Garcés The funds needed will have to be raised. The main objective is to promote the use of the family history for cancer control by generating and sharing information. The main instruments are: events, pilot studies and publications in Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice ( or The readers are invited to contact the nodal points of their choice and to present their ideas and suggestions.


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Correspondence to Walter Weber.

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Weber, W. Report. The UICC Familial Cancer and Prevention Project 1991-2003. Hered Cancer Clin Pract 2, 151 (2004).

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