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NCI Center for Global Health

US-LA CRN Partner: Chile

Cancer Burden in Chile1

  • In 2008, the age-world-standardized incidence rate (ASR(W)) per 100,000 for cancer incidence in Chile was 176.7, not including non-melanoma skin cancer. A total of 36,000 new cancer cases were diagnosed.
  • Cancer mortality rates for Chilean males are highest in stomach, prostate, and lung cancers.
  • Cancer mortality rates for Chilean females are highest in gallbladder, breast, and stomach cancers.

Cancer Research Infrastructure in Chile2

Health research, including cancer research, is carried out primarily in universities and research centers.  To promote essential research on the country’s priority health problems, the Ministry of Health (MINSAL) implemented a systematic anticancer policy rooted in evidence-based medicine.

The National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica or CONICYT) is the governmental advisory body for science and technology (S&T).  CONICYT focuses its efforts on S&T development through the funding of competitive peer review scientific grants as a way to improve the country’s social and economic conditions.  Other important institutions supporting science and technology research (both governmental and nongovernmental) are the Program of the Chilean Economic Development Agency, the National Fund for Science and Technology Development, and the Program of Development and Technological Innovation of Chile.  In addition, the mission of the Fundación Chile – a private, nonprofit institution – is to introduce innovation and develop human capital in the Chilean economy through technology management, in alliance with local and global knowledge networks.  The Genoma Chile Initiative funds genomic studies and the Center for Scientific Studies is a private, nonprofit corporation for the development, promotion, and dissemination of scientific research.

The locations of participating health research centers span nearly all of Chile, including the Universidad de Chile, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Universidad de Valparaíso, Universidad Austral, and Universidad de Antofagasta, among others.

Health Care in Chile3

MINSAL is the lead health care agency in Chile. It establishes health policies, issues general standards and plans, supervises, monitors and evaluates compliance with these directives.  In addition, the National Health Fund (Fondo Nacional de Salud or FONASA), the ISAPRE (Isapre Banmedicas) Authority, the Public Health Institute, and the Central Supply Clearinghouse all report to MINSAL.  The Public Health Institute is responsible for regulating drugs and medical products.  The overall health services system combines public and private support. 

Public insurance is provided through FONASA – which receives contributions from its members and the national government – to cover indigent people and to carry out public health programs. The private sector is represented by ISAPREs, which are health insurers. FONASA covers approximately 63% of the population, while ISAPREs cover 23%.

The public health network in Chile is made up of ambulatory and hospital facilities which offer services of varying complexity. There are a total of 196 general hospitals in Chile, in addition to 526 primary care clinics and 1,840 rural health posts. There is one clinic for approximately 28,500 people and one rural health post for every 1,900 rural dwellers.

Health Sector Expenditure and Financing3

In 2000, the total expenditure on health in Chile was 6.6% of GDP compared with 6.2% for 2007. Public health care is financed by the federal government and by copayments from patients covered under the public system. General government expenditure on health care, as a percentage of total government expenses, increased from 14.1 % in 2000 to 17.9 % in 2007. 

National Coordinator

Bettina Müller, M.D.
Medical Oncologist
Instituto Nacional del Cáncer
Profesor Zañartu 1010 Independencia
Santiago, Chile
Phone: 56-2-5757245 &

1 Pan American Health Organization Country Health Profiles (PAHO, 2010); World Health Organization WHOSIS Global Database; and the Embassy of Chile in the United States.

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

3 Word Heath Statistics, (WHO, 2010).