IPO was born out of the dream and work of Francisco Gentil, a surgeon, far ahead of his time, who founded the Portuguese Institute for the Study of Cancer in 1923, focussed on the care to cancer patients, research, study and treatment of the disease.


On the founder’s proposal, the Institute was linked, from the beginning, to Medical School of Lisbon University – only 60 years later International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recognised this model of which Portugal was a pioneer and which enabled to bring together the major goals behind the creation of the institution.


After his death Francisco Gentil, a name inextricably linked to the fight against cancer in Portugal, would have the Institute he founded named after him.


This doctor understood very early that the study of the cancer and a careful, personalized and high-quality care provided to cancer patients required an independent organization, a group of efficient nurses and a demanding scientific level.

The Portuguese Institute for the Study of Cancer, with temporary head office in Santa Marta Hospital, in Lisboa, was created on December 29th 1923 (Decree no. 9333, Official Gazette no. 278,1st Series). The Steering Committee was headed by Francisco Gentil and comprised Mark Athias, Henrique Parreira, João Raposo de Magalhães and Francisco Bénard Guedes. The Institute had its own legal personality, technical and scientific autonomy, and depended from the Ministry of Public Education.


To be the head of the administrative department, Francisco Gentil chose Mário Neves, who was later replaced by Joaquim Silveira Botelho.


Linked to the University of Lisbon, the Institute had full administrative and financial autonomy, which enabled it to freely dispose of its proceeds and take the initiatives deemed necessary for its operation.


The construction of the first pavilions started only in 1927, after the purchase of the land (for a symbolic price) from the House of Cadaval. Pavilion A opened in December 1927, with the installation of Roentgen therapy, Diathermy and Dispensary departments.


It was here that the activity of what is today IPO started.