From his base at the Cantonal Hospital St.Gallen, which he transformed into a prime example of patient care and clinical cancer research, Hans-Jörg Senn led the SAKK governing bodies, initially as president of the Project Group Breast Cancer and later as SAKK President. With great aptitude for politics, he provided support during the SERI-mandated merger of SAKK, SPOG and the Association of Swiss Cancer Registries VSKR by founding the Swiss Institute for Applied Cancer Research SIAK, of which he was also the first president.
Hans-Jörg Senn also played a crucial role in rescuing and founding the International Breast Cancer Study Group after its predecessor organization Ludwig Breast Cancer Study Group had its funding withdrawn. In the Swiss foundation he established with SAKK as founding member, he paved the way for the creation of a unique platform where the Project Group Breast Cancer and its many researchers could share their ideas and presentations. With Hans-Jörg Senn's involvement, the IBCSG and SAKK also played a key role in organizing the St.Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference and its Consensus. As an official partner of the conference, and together with other renowned organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Breast International Group (BIG) who came on board on his initiative, our Swiss cancer research network and its researching physicians help organize the event, and base their recommendations for the treatment of early breast cancer on its Consensus.
Not only was Hans-Jörg Senn dedicated to caring for his patients as well as to research and teaching, but he also launched and supported various key initiatives in the field of healthcare. He worked on the cancer registry and the early detection of breast cancer and, after a decade of skilled political work, he helped successfully launch the donna-sg breast screening program in the Canton of St. Gallen, the first of its kind in German-speaking Switzerland. With its strict quality controls, the program became a model for many other cantons which subsequently tasked the donna-sg organizational team with the development of their own screening programs. Lastly, like many renowned oncologists, Hans-Jörg Senn also turned his attention to the challenging field of prevention in healthcare and research.
With the passing of Hans-Jörg Senn, we have lost a dedicated physician, a visionary researcher, a skilled networker and organizer, a discerning editor-in-chief and a dear friend. He leaves a huge gap in our organization and our lives. We will remember him with great appreciation and gratitude.
Miklos Pless, SAKK President, together with previous Presidents Urs Metzger, Franco Cavalli, Richard Herrmann, Beat Thürlimann and Roger von Moos