History & Background

History & Background

The ECC Certification Initiative has its foundation in the national Certification System of the German Cancer Society. The German Cancer Society has been successfully implementing a voluntary Cancer Centre Certification Programme since 2003 in order to improve the quality of cancer care within certified networks.

This Programme is driven by scientific societies, health care providers as well as patient advocates. It puts multidisciplinary teams at the heart of the cancer care process and it intends to implement the content of evidence-based guidelines into everyday care.

Care quality is documented in each network of providers (i.e., “centre”) amongst others through tumour-specific Quality Indicators. This documentation and the annual audits are the basis for the decision on whether a certificate is issued. After starting with Breast Cancer Centres in 2003, the Programme has expanded and now cancer centres for the most common cancer sites can apply for certification. Since the starting point over 1.5 million cancer patients have been treated in certified Centres.

As of January 2024 a total of 2,041 German Cancer Centres and 171 Cancer Centres in Europe and internationally have been certified and joined the Programme.

Since 2016 the Programme is open to centres in non-German speaking countries as well.

With the numbers of certified Cancer Centres outside of Germany constantly increasing, the German Cancer Society’s Certification Programme is the largest in Europe.

This provides a number of opportunities:

  • The quality of oncological care can be compared across countries.
  • Collaborations between scientific societies can expand Europe-wide.
  • Smaller countries with only a few certified Centres can compare their results with a large number of centres from different countries and can track their development over time.

A comprehensive overview of the centres and further information on the certification system can be found here.