The Milly Haagedoorn Lecture

Milly HaagedoornDr. E. Milly L. Haagedoorn

(1931 – 2017)

Dr. E. Milly L. Haagedoorn MD, PhD dedicated over 20 years as a full time cancer educator, first at Leiden University, then at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, at both institutions as the medical coordinator of the Dutch National Audiovisual Cancer Education Project. In 1985 she earned a PhD with her thesis “Aspects of Cancer Education for Professionals” at Groningen University Faculty of Medical Sciences. Her mentors were Professor Jan Oldhoff, surgical oncologist at Groningen University and Professor Richard Bakemeier, medical oncologist from Rochester University, NY, USA.

Dr. Haagedoorn was a General Practitioner for five years before commencing a residency in surgery for six years, with special interest in surgical oncology. From 1987 till her retirement in 1997 she was appointed as Assistant Professor for cancer education at the division of Surgical Oncology of Groningen University Hospital (currently named University Medical Centre Groningen).

Dr. Haagedoorn has been first or co-author of many articles and several books on cancer education, both in Dutch and English. The textbook “Essential Oncology for Health Professionals” has been translated into several languages and her final major commitment was as co-editor of a revision of this book in 2005, by editor-in-chief Jakob de Vries. The revised book carries the new title: “Oncologie voor de Algemene Praktijk” (Oncology for General Practice).


From 1979 to 2000 Dr. Haagedoorn was a member of the American Association for Cancer Education (AACE) and served as co-chair and chair on the International Section of this Association over a number of years.

In 1987 she was a member of the foundation group of the European Association for Cancer Education (EACE), served as President in 1988 and as Executive Director from 1989 – 1994. Dr. Haagedoorn has been chairman of several scientific programme committees for the EACE annual meetings, and has organized the annual meetings of EACE in 1995 in Groningen (together with the educationist Dr. Wim Bender), the 2001 meeting in Antwerp and the 2002 meeting in Nimagen.

Dr. Haagedoorn has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Cancer Education, the official Journal of the AACE and the EACE.


In November 1990 the World Health Organisation, along with Professor Jan Oldhoff (surgical oncologist), Dr. Milly Haagedoorn (cancer educationalist) and Dr Wim Bender (medical educationist), established the WHO-Collaborating Centre for Cancer Education (WHO-CCCE). In 1998 WHO appointed Dr. Haagedoorn as director of the WHO-CCCE, with Dr. Jakob de Vries (surgical oncologist at Groningen University Hospital), as co-director. In 2002 WHO agreed director and co-director to change places. Dr. Haagedoorn, who will retire in the summer of 2006, is currently mainly involved in the UICC/WHO-CCCE project and in the International Summer School ’Oncology for Medical Students’.


During the joint meeting of the EACE and the AACE in November 2000 in Washington DC, USA, Dr. Haagedoorn was awarded the prestigious annual “Margaret Hay Edwards Award for outstanding Contributions to Cancer Education” by the AACE. In 2002 at the 15th annual scientific meeting of the EACE in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Dr. Haagedoorn received the Royal Dutch Knighthood Decoration “Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau” for her longstanding contributions to cancer education.

Milly Haagedoorn lectures

In 1997 Dr. Haagedoorn was invited by the Board of the EACE to give her name to an annual EACE Lecture. Milly accepted the honour under the following conditions:

  • It should always be – according to superiors and peers of the “lecturer to be” – a yet unknown health professional, or someone related to the health professions – who is doing excellent work in cancer education, or in a multicultural environment related to cancer education; but definitely a person who has not yet been “in the picture”.
  • Being a multiprofessional Association, the Milly Haagedoorn Lecturer should be recruited from the variety of health professionals of different disciplines working in cancer education.

Milly Haagedoorn Lecturers since 1999:

  • 2019 – Ana Barros – Portugal – Barriers in Cancer Communication – Identifying the Problem and Proposing Solutions
  • 2018 – Jonaton Nowakowski – Poland – When the student becomes the teacher: Teaching medical students from a young medical graduate’s perspective.
  • 2017 – not awarded.
  • 2016 – not awarded.
  • 2015 – Sabine Fromm-Haidenberger – Germany – Through the looking glass: Developments in cancer education and within EACE over the past decade.
  • 2014 – Radoslaw Tarkowski – Poland – Looking with hope into the future: Undergraduate cancer education improves clinical outcomes.
  • 2013 – Barbara Howard-Hunt, U.K. – Cultural issues and the end of life: Engaging in dialogue with the Somali community
  • 2012 – Hilde de Vocht, The Netherlands – Teaching taboo topics: more than just tools?
  • 2011 – Haris Charalambous, Cyprus – Cancer Education on a practical level: how can we influence the practice of our colleagues to improve patient care?
  • 2010 – Darren Starmer, Australia – “Will you walk into my parlor,’ said the Spider to the Fly.”: Avoiding traps when searching for information on the web
  • 2009 – Neelkamal Kapoor, India – Expanding the Definition of Healing – Cancer Education in India
  • 2008 – not awarded.
  • 2007 – Judith Cave, U.K. – Educating Undergrduate Medical Students About Oncology
  • 2006 – Sara Faithful, U.K. – Developing Oncology Nurse Education and Training Across Europe
  • 2005 – Pat Webb, U.K. – Five Year Survival: an End or a Beginning?
  • 2004 – F. Joly, France & Canada – How can quality of life (QOL) assessments help us in our daily practice?
  • 2003 – Maria Friedrichsen, Sweden. Crossing the border – Different ways cancer patients, family members and physicians experience information in the transition to the late palliative phase.
  • 2002 – Oda Terwindt, The Netherlands. Reflection in the oncology nurse practice; the justification of reflective practice (in oncology).
  • 2001 – Alex Stewart, UK. From Mountains to Molehills: Narrative in cancer education.
  • 2000 – Eugene Rice. USA. Harvey/Haagedoorn Lecture. The new Scholar: implications for Cancer Educators.
  • 1999 – Jakob de Vries, The Netherlands. Essentials in Cancer Education.