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World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Global Cancer Control

Male African doctor talks with older male African patient in the doctor's office
Credit: vystekimages


The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have designated the Center for Global Health (CGH) as one of their 800+ collaborating centers, and the only one dedicated to global cancer control, to coordinate activities and provide technical advice for WHO’s cancer control goals.


The WHO Collaborating Center for Global Cancer Control enables countries to strengthen their health systems for better cancer-specific results by:

  • coordinating experts and events across NCI and WHO to communicate on goals, prioritization, and strategy alignment  
  • providing technical guidance on how to prevent cancer, care for survivors, and form cancer control plans  
  • developing workshops, manuals, analyses, and tools to control cancer and disseminate cancer research  
  • guiding research, strategy, and implementation for WHO’s initiative to eliminate cervical cancer

Focus Areas

The WHOCC for Global Cancer Control, first established in 2016, is beginning its third designation for the period of 2024-2028 with the following focus areas:

Assisting with Global Cancer Control Planning

Cancer control planning is essential as countries strengthen their health systems and prioritize cancer control while preparing to address the growing burden of cancer, which has been an important challenge for low- and middle-income countries. 

  • Contributed to the development of the WHO prioritization tool for cancer control, funding the WHO Country Office in Mozambique and the cancer control program at the Mozambique Ministry of Health to cost Mozambique’s National Cancer Control Plan and prepare an economic analysis and investment case for cancer control in their country. 
  • Provided support to the development of national cancer control plans leveraging the International Cancer Control Partnership (ICCP), to which NCI/CGH is a founding member and funder, and its Cancer Control Leadership Forum program (1).  
  • Supported countries in the development and implementation of national cancer control plans, establishing an online community of practice through the ICCP ECHO program, which utilizes the Project ECHO model and platform.  
  • For the 4th consecutive year, we continue to lead the ICCP ECHO to sustain a community of practice formed by local experts who are active in the implementation of their NCCPs.
  • Continuing to support the development and implementation of cancer control plans, while utilizing policy implementation research models to assess governance and accountability issues.

Supporting WHO Global Cancer Initiatives

In recent years, the WHO has launched three global initiatives in an effort to control the cancer burden globally. The Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer, established in 2018 to raise the survival rate of children with cancer to at least 60% by 2030, while reducing their suffering and improving their quality of life; the Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative, which global strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in August 2020 aiming to bring down the incidence of cervical cancer to 4 per 100,000 women; and the Global Breast Cancer Initiative, launched in 2021 and developed around three pillars – health promotion for early detection, timely diagnosis and comprehensive breast cancer management – to reduce breast cancer by 2.5% per year.

WHO Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative

  • Provided guidance and expert input throughout the development of the initiative.
  • Explored the needs for its implementation across countries, including the assessment of cervical cancer referral pathways and linkages between and among screening and management services in Kenya.
  • Pilot tested the Australian canSCREEN® cervical cancer screening registry in Kenya.
  • Developed the protocol for the assessment of a web-based social media group that provides educational and psychosocial support for patients, survivors, and those affected by cervical cancer in Zambia.
  • Worked in collaboration with the University of New Mexico on informing the WHO Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Guideline Implementation Recommendations. 

WHO Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI)

  • Participated in the initial consultations and provided expert guidance to the initiative and continue to participate in the technical working group overseeing this work.
  • Working together to advance the operationalization, implementation, and tracking of GBCI progress, while strengthening and facilitating policies and data systems that cover important targets for breast cancer early detection and management, aligned with GBCI pillars and key performance indicators.

WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer

  • Working together with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is home to the first and only WHO Collaborating Center for Childhood Cancer, to integrate cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults as an essential component of national cancer control plans.
  • NCCP iCAYA (National Cancer Control Planning - Integrating Children, Adolescents and Young Adults) was launched in 2023 to bring together teams engaged in childhood cancer control implementation within Ministries of Health to exchange knowledge and explore how to integrate the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer CureAll pillars and enablers at the country level (2).

Engaging Early Career Scientists in Global Cancer Research

It is essential that we provide opportunities for cancer researchers and fellows, especially those from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), who are in early stages of their career to analyze, synthesize, and disseminate available cancer data in connection with WHO initiatives and programs, while offering support to in-country cancer control priorities. It serves the purpose of advancing their career in global cancer research and control, while amplifying the use and dissemination of cancer data for the benefit of the scientific community and the public overall.

Cancer Survivorship

The burden of cancer is increasing in low- and middle-income countries, and improvements in cancer diagnosis, treatment and management are leading to an increase in survival rates among these populations. As the numbers of cancer survivors in LMICs increase, we need to research the experience of these individuals and the families caring for them to improve survivorship care and support. The NCI considers an individual to be a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis through the remainder of their life.

  • Awarded 6 administrative supplements to stimulate and strengthen global cancer survivorship research, as an opportunity to supplement current NCI-funded investigators and to gauge interest in the area of survivorship research in LMICs, leveraging existing relationships and partnerships with stakeholders and possibly identifying the gaps in post-treatment follow-up care (3)
  • Conducted a study of existing survivorship care strategies in National Cancer Control Plans in Africa in 2021-2022 (4), followed by a series of survivorship country profiles in 2023 for use by the WHO (5), and other global partners, such as cancer planners and advocates to strengthen cancer survivorship services at the national level. 
  • Hosted a cancer survivorship meeting at the 2022 World Cancer Congress that led to the development of a compendium of survivorship research and practice in LMICs to promote coordination and to inform future efforts.
  • Provided expert input to the WHO Global Survey on the Lived Experience of People Affected by Cancer (6).

How to Connect

For information, see WHO’s web page on collaborating centers or contact


Since 2016, CGH has worked directly with WHO’s cancer team in the Geneva headquarters, the PAHO team in Washington, D.C., and the WHO regional offices.