Cancer control: knowledge into action

WHO guide for effective programmes

In 2005, 7.6 million people died of cancer. More than 70% of those deaths occured in low and middle income countries. WHO has developed a series of six modules that provides practical advice for programme managers and policy-makers on how to advocate, plan and implement effective cancer control programmes, particularly in low and middle income countries.

The WHO guide is a response to the World Health Assembly resolution on cancer prevention and control (WHA58.22), adopted in May 2005, which calls on Member States to intensify action against cancer by developing and reinforcing cancer control programmes.

Cancer modules


How to plan overall cancer control effectively, according to available resources and integrating cancer control with programmes for other chronic diseases and related problems.


How to implement effective cancer prevention by controlling major avoidable cancer risk factors.

Early detection

How to implement effective early detection of major types of cancer that are amenable to early diagnosis and screening.

Diagnosis and treatment

How to implement effective cancer diagnosis and treatment, particularly linked to early detection programmes or curable cancers.

Palliative care

How to implement effective palliative care for cancer, with a particular focus on community-based care.

Policy and advocacy

How to advocate for policy development and effective programme implementation of cancer control.

Tools and features


Listen to Dr Robert Beaglehole, former Director of the WHO Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, talk about the scale of the global cancer problem and WHO's work in cancer control.

Fact file

Fact about cancer; the causes, the burden and ways to prevent and treat.
Read the fact file

Fact sheet

Comprehensive information on cancer.

Photo stories

Stories of people living with cancer show the strong and personal impact of the disease on people and their families.

More information

Order form

Order cancer modules from WHO Press via mail, e-mail or online

Contact us

Cancer control
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
CH-1211 Geneva

Media contacts

Contact us for more information on cancer and other chronic diseases.

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