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NCI Center for Global Health

US-LA CRN Partner: Argentina

Cancer Burden in Argentina

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Argentina following cardiovascular diseases.
  • In 2008, the age-world-standardized incidence rate (ASR(W)) rate per 100,000 for cancer in Argentina was 206.3, not including non-melanoma skin cancer. A total of 104,900 new cancer cases were diagnosed.
  • Cancer mortality rates for Argentinian males are highest in lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
  • Cancer mortality rates for Argentinian females are highest in breast, colorectal, and lung cancers.
  • In 2008, 18,712 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed.

Cancer Research Infrastructure in Argentina1

Instituto Leloir, a private, nonprofit research institute, is the premier institution of basic and applied research in Argentina. The Institute supports biomedical research through 25 multidisciplinary laboratories, ranging from basic biochemistry to gene therapy, with a research staff of over 170 investigators. The Institute is funded by national and international grants. The government of Argentina, several private foundations, and industry contribute to annual budget of USD $7.5 million. Instituto Leloir partners with four major clinical hospitals to advance applied cancer research:

  • Hospital Eva Peron
  • Oncology Municipal Hospital Maria Curie
  • Instituto Roffo Hospital (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  • Universidad Catolica de Cordoba

Together, these hospitals treat over 3,000 new cancer patients each year. In addition, these clinical institutions have ample experience implementing clinical trials, including trials involving partnerships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

Health Care in Argentina2

The Ministerio de Salud y Acción Social de la Nación (MSAS, Ministry of Health and Social Action) is the organization in charge of standardizing, regulating, planning, and evaluating health care activities in Argentina. The health care system is organized around three main providers:

  • The public sector, which supplies free inpatient and outpatient clinical care at hospitals and covers about 50% of the population.
  • Mutuals or social plans, administered by trade unions, are semi-public plans in which employers and employees each pay a fixed fee for health care in varying proportions. Differences between the fixed fee and the actual cost of treatment are paid by the patient. In the past, these plans covered 45% of the population, but that number has fallen recently due to increasing unemployment.
  • The private sector, where patients pay for the total cost of their medical care. This sector covers approximately 5% of the population.

Health Sector Expenditure and Financing3

In 2007, total health expenditures in Argentina were estimated at 10% of the GDP, which represented a per capita expenditure of approximately USD $663. The largest external contributions come from loans for projects from the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank.

Cancer Research Funding in Argentina

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCyT), established in November 2007, is responsible for overseeing the development and enhancement of science and technology infrastructure and policy in Argentina. The National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas  or CONICET), works under the MINCyT and is responsible for a major portion of funding awarded to institutions to support research, including cancer, and scientific capacity building.

National Coordinator

Osvaldo Podhajcer, Ph.D
Vice Director
Instituto Leloir
Av. Patricias Argentinas 435
Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Argentina, C1405BWE
Phone: (54-11) 5238-7500 ext 3107

1 Pan American Health Organization Country Health Profiles (2010).

2 International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC-WHO, 2010); Inter American Development Bank Science & Technology Report in Latin America, (IDB, 2011).

3 World Health Statistics, World Health Organization (WHO, 2010).