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NCI Center for Global Health

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US-LA CRN Partner: Uruguay

Cancer Burden in Uruguay1

  • In 2008, the age-world-standardized incidence rate (ASR(W)) per 100,000 for cancer incidence in Uruguay was 280.4, not including non-melanoma skin cancer. A total of 14,600 new cancer cases were diagnosed.
  • Cancer mortality for Uruguayan males is highest in lung, prostate, and colon cancers.
  • Cancer mortality rates for Uruguayan females are highest in breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers.

Cancer Research Infrastructure in Uruguay2

Major institutions involved in biomedical research include Institut Pasteur with a regional focus in the Southern Cone countries (Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay), the Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas Clemente Estable, and various research groups at the Universidad de la Republica de Uruguay.  The main objectives of the National Agency of Investigation and Innovation (ANII) include the design, organization, and administration of plans, and programs to support the scientific-technological development and innovation in Uruguay including cancer research. The Department of Innovation, Science, and Technology (DICyT) of the Ministry of Education and Culture has the task of developing and supporting policies, guidelines, strategies, and priorities in innovation, science, and technology.  In addition, DICyT communicates the actions of the Ministry to other agencies, as well as other public and private organizations which may be directly or indirectly affected by these policies.

The National Council of Innovation, Science and Technology (CONICYT) is composed of representatives of different institutional or social organizations associated with science, technology, and innovation.  Its objective is to support research and capacity-building projects including cancer research and to advise Uruguay’s executive branch and legislature in matters of science and technology.

Health Care in Uruguay3

Uruguay has a new health system called The National System Integrated of Health.  The system has private and public funding.  The main agencies in the public sector are: Administración de Servicios de Servicios de Salud del Estado (ASSE), Hospital de Universitario (Hospital de Clínicas, Universidad de la República), Hospital Central de las Fuerzas Armadas, Dirección Nacional de Sanidad Policial, Health Services from  19 municipalities, and the Bank of Social Services (Banco de Previsión Social). The private sector of health care is composed of insurance cooperatives called Institutions of Collective Medical Attendance (IAMC) which are private, non-profit organizations. ASSE covers 48% of the Uruguayan population’s health care and the IAMC covers 43%. The remaining 9% of Uruguay citizens are covered by companies that offer partial insurance coverage.

Health Sector Expenditures and Financing3

In 2007, per capita health expenditure was USD $582 and total spending on health was equivalent to 8% of Uruguay's GDP. Public spending and private spending on health care were essentially equal. The public sector funds all health promotion activities, disease prevention initiatives, and epidemiological surveillance programs.

National Coordinator

Graciela Sabini, M.D.
Programa Nacional de Control del Cáncer (PRONACCAN)
Dirección General de la Salud
Ministerio de Salud Pública
Joanicó 3265                                            
Maricano Uriarte 6134,
Montevideo, Uruguay 11500
Phone:  (598-2) 481-3509


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

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

3 World Health Statistics, World Health Organization (WHO, 2010) & web page of the Uruguayan Ministry of Public Health, 2011.