WHO/WPRO/Nomin Lkhagvasuren

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells, which can invade and spread to distant sites of the body. Cancer can have severe health consequences, and is a leading cause of death. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, uterine cervix, and stomach cancer are the most common among women. More than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, especially tobacco use. Early detection, accurate diagnosis, and effective treatment, including pain relief and palliative care, help increase cancer survival rates and reduce suffering. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, tailored to tumour stage, type and available resources. Comprehensive cancer control plans are needed to improve cancer prevention and care, especially in low-income and middle-income countries.

International Childhood Cancer Day 2015

International Childhood Cancer Day is held annually on 15 February to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, survivors and their families. The Day also spotlights the need for better treatment and care for all children with cancer, everywhere. Childhood cancers - a term most commonly used to designate cancers that arise in children before the age of 15 years - are rare, representing between 0.5% and 4.6% of all cancers. Overall incidence rates vary between 50 and 200 per million children across the world. Read this Q and A to learn more about childhood cancers, risks, prognosis, and efforts to improve data in low-resource settings.

New Global Cancer Country Profiles

WHO / EURO /Gilles Reboux

December 2014 -- WHO is launching Global Cancer Country Profiles. In order to combat the global epidemic of cancer and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), it is imperative to create a baseline for monitoring trends and to assess the progress of countries in addressing the epidemic.
The aim of the WHO Global Cancer Country Profiles is to synthesize, in one reference document, the global status of cancer prevention and control. Each Profile includes data on cancer mortality and incidence; risk factors; availability of cancer country plans; monitoring and surveillance; primary prevention policies; screening; treatment and palliative care.

The Profiles are available on the Cancer Country Profiles page, and can also be downloaded as applications for Android and iOS devices.

New WHO guidelines for mammography screening and referral

OPS-OMS/Sebastián Oliel

October 2014 -- A new WHO position paper examines the balance of benefits and harms in offering mammography screening to women after the age of 40 in a variety of settings. WHO is also issuing new guidelines for the referral of suspected breast cancer cases in low-resources settings, applicable to primary care.
These two guidelines are part of a broader set of comprehensive breast cancer guidance that will be developed in the coming years.


fact buffet

8.2 millionpeople die each year from cancer, an estimated 13% of all deaths worldwide.

Globocan 2012, IARC

70% the increase in new cases of cancer expected over the next 2 decades.

Key facts about cancer

>100cancer types exist, each requiring unique diagnosis and treatment.

Read the fact file about cancer

About the Cancer Control Programme

The key mission of WHO Cancer Control Programme is to promote national cancer control policies plans and programmes, integrated to noncommunicable diseases and other related problems. Our core functions are to set norms and standards, promote surveillance, encourage evidence based prevention, early detection, treatment and palliative tailored to the different socioeconomic settings.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms.
One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.