The Foundation St.Gallen Oncology Conferences (SONK)

Foundation for educational seminars and conferences in oncology for health care professionals. In German: Stiftung für onkologische Fortbildung und Kongresse (SONK)

St.Gallen Oncology Conferences is a private charitable and tax-exempted non-profit foundation according to the Swiss law, registered and supervised by the Department of Interiors of the Swiss Canton (Kanton / state) of St.Gallen in Eastern Switzerland. The foundation has been initiated by Prof. Hansjörg Senn (* 28 March 1934, ✝ 13 January 2023) in 1996, when he served as Head of the Department of Oncology–Heamatology of the Kantonsspital St. Gallen.

The mission of the foundation SONK is the distribution of knowledge for health care professionals caring for cancer patients at national and international level, in order to promote the implementation of research based knowledge and to advance cancer care in clinical practice.


St.Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference since 1978

The backbone of the foundation is it’s largest project, the world known and traditional, bi-annual St.Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference, founded by Prof. Hansjörg Senn in 1978. This conference ends traditionally with a consensus session, building the base for the update of the St.Gallen Consensus Guidelines / Recommendations. An international group of scientists, represented in the consensus panel, writes up the consensus of around 50 international breast cancer specialists from most continents. The consensus is rapidly published as the St.Gallen Guidelines for the optimal treatment of patients with early breast cancer in the prestigious scientific journal Annals of Oncology and reaches out to breast cancer specialists all over the world.

The great success of this conference attracted so many international participants that guests eventually had to book accommodation far from the conference, between Vaduz and Zürich. For this reason, the decision was taken to move the conference from St.Gallen to Vienna in 2015. Since then, it is called the St.Gallen International Breast Cancer Conference in Vienna.

The foundation also facilitates another international conference series, such as the St.Gallen International Conference on Gastrointestinal Cancer, chaired by Prof Florian Otto, St.Gallen and Prof. Manfred Lutz, Saarbrücken Germany.

The first Symposium on Supportive Care in Cancer was started in 1982 and was hosted for over two decades in St.Gallen and later was successfully adopted by the Multinational Society of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC). International Conferences on Clinical- and Chemoprevention were also started 1998 in St.Gallen and meanwhile moved to different places.


The foundation to support health care professionals in oncology: Oncology Seminars in German language


Deutsch-sprachig Europäische Schule für Onkologie: deso

Die Europäische Schule für Onkologie, deutsch-sprachiger Teil der Stiftung SONK, organisiert mehrere internationale Seminare für Pflegende und Ärzte. Es sind dies das jährliche, internationale Onkologie-Pflegeseminar in St.Gallen und das Internationale Seminar Palliativbetreuung onkologischer Patientinnen und Patienten in der Kartause Ittingen (Dr. Agnes Glaus und Teams). Beide Seminare sind bewährt und gut besucht und auch nach knapp einem Vierteljahrhundert noch beliebte Orte zum Netzwerken.

Auch das zwei-jährliche Symposium Prostatakarzinom für onkologisch tätige Ärztinnen und Ärzte in St.Gallen wird über die Stiftung organisiert (PD Dr.Dr. Friedemann Honecker, St.Gallen).

Das Conference Sekretariat der Stiftung dient auch als Koordinationsstelle für Seminare und weitere Fortbildungsanlässe im deutsch-sprachigen Europa.


Contact SONK:
St.Gallen Oncology Conferences (SONK)
Silberturm, Rorschacherstr. 150, 9006 St.Gallen
phone 071 243 09 90