National Cancer Control Programmes (NCCP)
A national cancer control programme (NCCP) is a public health programme designed to reduce the number of cancer cases and deaths and improve quality of life of cancer patients. This is done by implementing systematic, equitable and evidence-based strategies for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliation using available resources. No matter what resource constraints a country faces, when well-conceived and well-managed, a NCCP helps reduce the cancer burden and improve services for cancer patients and their families.
National cancer control plans should be goal-oriented, realistic, carefully prepared and appropriately funded through a participatory process in order to be effectively implemented. Cancer control planning requires accurate data, including reliable cancer registries and monitoring and evaluation programmes to ensure programmes are appropriately prioritized and to assure quality.
If national leaders decide to create a new or updated cancer control plan, then the cancer control planning process can start with broad participatory support. All key stakeholders should be involved early in the planning stages, and national leadership is needed throughout the process. Decision-makers can be reassured that a cancer control plan will not create a costly vertical programme, but should be integrated with noncommunicable diseases and other related programmes to make better use of available resources.
Planning Step 1: Where are we now?
It is important to understand the current situation before considering new programmes. An in-depth situation analysis helps identify gaps in services as well as opportunities for cost-effective action. Dimensions to consider when performing the situation analyses are: present status of the cancer burden, risk factors, current cancer control activities or services, available material, human and financial resources and the political and socioeconomic context.
Planning Step 2: Where do we want to be?
Once gaps are identified, the next step is to set priorities and objectives. Factors to consider in the priority setting process include the burden of disease, existence and feasibility of cost-effective interventions and equitable access to services for all. Objectives are directly related to the identified cancer control priority interventions. It is important to ensure that there are enough resources, capacity and public acceptability to maintain sustainable interventions over the long-term.
Planning Step 3: How do we get there?
Plans must be comprehensive, effectively implemented, and include an evaluation system. The process of translating a cancer control plan into action requires competent management and leadership that are essential to ensure that the right methods are applied in the right place, at the right time, with the right people to mobilize resources, track progress and move ahead.
The planning phase is followed by the policy implementation phase. Priority interventions can be implemented using a stepwise approach, focusing initially on what can be done with better organization of available resources in a target area where there is good potential for success. As results are successfully demonstrated, more resources can be justified and the programme can be expanded.
Related WHO Links
- Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020
- Cancer control: knowledge into action series
- Guide to cancer early diagnosis
- Comprehensive cervical cancer control: a guide to essential practice
- WHO position paper on mammography screening
- Global atlas of palliative care at the end of life
- IARC Global cancer observatory
- IARC World cancer report
- Full list of publications