As of July 1, 2023, Veerle Coupé has been appointed professor of 'Medical decision making in cancer care and prevention'. Prof. Coupé aims to optimize decision-making concerning cancer diagnostics and treatment and to optimize policy around cancer prevention. Her inaugural lecture with the title ‘Models in cancer care and prevention: on idealism, pragmatism and optimism’ is planned for the 8th of March 2024, in the Aula of the VU main building, at 3:45 PM.

The societal importance of optimizing cancer treatment and prevention is large. With an aging population, the number of yearly cancer diagnoses is increasing. Moreover, in the last 20 years, diagnostic and treatment options for cancer have tremendously increased. But these innovations are costly, causing cancer care to become unaffordable. How can we optimally spend the limited healthcare budget in order to achieve maximum health benefits? Prof. Coupé addresses this question using mathematical modeling, with the aim of providing guidance for an efficient and affordable healthcare system.

Mathematical modeling allows for the integration of all relevant aspects of a decision problem, that is, underlying biological processes, preventive measures, the care pathway, clinical outcomes, quality of life and healthcare costs in one comprehensive disease model. Using such models, predictions are made of the
long-term health and economic impact of various decision options, such as different selection criteria for prescribing a specific systemic therapy. Mathematical modeling supports recommendations for medical guidelines and policy regarding (cost-)effective care. But when is a model a good representation of a disease process, such that it can be a trustworthy basis for decisions? What should everyone know about modeling in order to critically judge the generated evidence and more effectively use the insights gained from models?

Prof. Veerle Coupé

These questions will be addressed in prof. Coupé’s inaugural lecture. The lecture will
be preceded by a symposium titled ‘From modeling to decision making in health
care and prevention’ between 10h30 and 15h in De Veranda, 1081 JK Amsterdam. Click here for the symposium program and registration form.

For more information, contact Prof. Veerle Coupé.

See the Dutch version of this article: Wiskundige modellen om kankerzorg en -preventie te verbeteren (

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