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  • Cancer is a poverty issue. Poor people are more likely to die from cancer, and a cancer diagnosis can push households into poverty. Cancer prevention interventions, such as tobacco taxes and HPV vaccinations, are pro-poor, providing relatively larger benefits to low-income households. 

  • Cancer is a major cause of premature death in LMICs, and its significance will undoubtedly grow as countries experience epidemiological and demographic transitions. 

  • Excise taxes on tobacco ($1-$150/DALY averted) and hepatitis B vaccination (<$100/DALY averted) are the most cost effective interventions against cancer. 

  • The DCP3 essential package of cost-effective and feasible interventions would, if fully implemented, cost an additional $20 billion per year, or 3 percent  of total public spending on health in LMICs; 2.6 percent in upper-middle-income countries (UMICs); and 5 percent in lower-middle-income countries; but 13 percent in low-income countries (LICs).
  • Global initiatives for cancer control in LMICs are needed to lower the costs of key inputs for the essential package, including large-scale commodity purchases; to expand technical assistance; and to promote cancer research.


“The lesson that emerges from the well-aimed empirical analyses presented in this volume is not only that a major difference can be made in the incidence, management, and elimination of cancer, even in the poorer countries of the world, but that this can be done in cost-effective and affordable ways. Understanding and determination are the deficiencies most in need of change.”

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Lancet Article on Cancer

Published online 11 November, 2015


Investments in cancer control—prevention, detection, diagnosis, surgery, other treatment, and palliative care—are increasingly needed in low-income and particularly in middle-income countries...

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Cancer Incidence Worldwide


 WHO (World Health Organization). 2012. Global Health Estimates 2012.

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Cancer, Volume 3 of Disease Control Priorities, third edition (DCP3), is a guide for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to help advance cancer control through the middle of the twenty-first century. It provides the means to help meet the new Sustainable Development Goals and provides a...
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Volume Editors

Hellen Gelband

Hellen Gelband
Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

Prabhat Jha

Prabhat Jha
Centre for Global Health Research, Toronto

Sue Horton

Sue Horton
University of Waterloo, School of Public Health and Health Systems

Cindy Gauvreau

Volume Coordinator
Cindy Gauvreau
Centre for Global Health Research, St. Michael's Hospital