Portrait of Prof. Harry de Koning, scientific coordinator of the EU-funded project EU-TOPIA

Prof. Harry J. de Koning

Scientific Coordinator of EU-TOPIA and Professor of Public Health & Screening evaluation, based at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Research field

Public Health, Cancer Screening

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“A medical doctor by training, I became a scientist soon after I finished university. I want to help people live longer with a good quality of life. My research field can really make a difference; I expect it to remain important for at least 50 more years”, says Professor of Public Health & Screening evaluation Harry de Koning.


“Recommendations for cancer screening vary across European countries, e.g. there are substantial differences in the minimum age and screening interval. It is not clear which screening programme is optimal. We aim to prevent unnecessary mortality and overdiagnosis by quantifying the harms and benefits of existing programmes.”


Professor de Koning: “EU-TOPIA is about screening programmes for three types of cancer: breast, colorectal and cervical cancer. We want to improve the existing programmes, thus enhancing the health of Europe’s citizens. In addition, EU-TOPIA aims to improve the cost-effectiveness and equity of screenings across countries.”


"We will develop three web-based tools: one for identifying barriers hindering the implementation of optimal screening programmes, one for evaluating short-term health outcomes, and one for predicting long-term outcomes. We plan to involve experts and policy makers from all EU countries and to organize interactive workshops."

Weighing the pros and cons of cancer screening programmes

In the Picture
In the Picture
Image credits

Background image: US Navy

Portrait of the project coordinator: EU-TOPIA

Timeline (in chronological order): 2010: European Commission; 2012 (mammography): Andrea Motta, Wellcome Images; 2012 (pap test): 'High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion' by Nephron - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -; 2014 (faecal occult blood test): James Heilman, MD; 2015 (map Europe): "Europe relief laea location map" by Alexrk2 - Own workData from, Scale: 1:10 MioSRTM3, ETOPO1. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -; 2015 (computer model): Image credit: Amanda Mills, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention