From Data to Action: A Curriculum for Cancer Prevention and Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Date published



Worldwide, an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases (18.1 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) and almost 10.0 million cancer deaths (9.9 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) occurred in 20201. The majority of cancer cases and deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where there is limited workforce capacity and resources for cancer prevention and control. The global cancer burden is expected to be 28.4 million cases in 2040, a 47 percent rise from 2020, with a larger increase in transitioning (64 oercent to 95 percent) versus transitioned (32 percent to 56 percent) countries due to demographic changes, although this may be further exacerbated by increasing risk factors associated with globalization and a growing economy. Efforts to build a sustainable infrastructure for the dissemination of cancer prevention measures and provision of cancer care in transitioning countries is critical for global cancer control. Few open-access materials exist to deliver cancer trainings in low-resource settings. To help address this gap, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a cancer curriculum for Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETP), ministry of health staff and public health personnel in low- and middle- income countries.

1. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel RL, Laversanne M, Soerjomataram I, Jemal A, Bray F. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021 May;71(3):209-249. doi: 10.3322/caac.21660. Epub 2021 Feb 4. PMID: 33538338

Curriculum Overview

These materials were designed to:

  • increase capacity in cancer epidemiology and program management;
  • provide a basic understanding of cancer;
  • complement Field Epidemiology Training Program projects and mentorship; and
  • increase capacity for surveillance, prevention, management and control of cancer.
Target Audience

These materials were developed with an emphasis on the capacity development needs in low- and middle -income countries. They may also be appropriate for audiences in high income countries, including the U.S. public health workforce.


English, Spanish

Curriculum Structure

The course can be delivered in classroom or self-guided settings using paper-based or online formats. Where possible, programs are encouraged to integrate country-specific examples into the course materials. Modules are paired with a case study and field exercise to reinforce important concepts:

  • Each module and case study pair will take about 8-10 hours to complete (40+ hours total for the course)
  • The modules are complementary, but can generally stand alone
  • Field exercises will be completed in the participants’ own time with guidance from a mentor
  • Materials assume familiarity with basic epidemiological concepts, such as measures of burden and risk

English Course Modules

The course consists of four modules that have a common thread of using cancer data to inform policy and improve cancer prevention and control programs:

  1. Principles of Cancer Epidemiology
  2. Principles of Comprehensive Cancer Control
  3. Principles of Cancer Registries and Surveillance
  4. Principles of Cancer Screening Programs

Módulos del curso de español (Spanish Course Modules)

El curso consta de cuatro módulos que utilizan los datos sobre el cáncer para fundamentar las políticas y mejorar los programas de prevención y control del cáncer:

  1. Principios de la Epidemiología del Cáncer
  2. Principios del Control Integral del Cáncer
  3. Principios de los Registros y la Vigilancia del Cáncer
  4. Principios de los Programas de Detección del Cáncer
Curriculum Evaluation and Dissemination

Modules were pilot tested in a variety of countries and settings including Morocco, India, and Nigeria. Modules were evaluated by participants, course facilitators and the curriculum development team in order to ensure course objectives are met.

For more information on pilot testing of the curriculum content and results, please see:


TEPHINET Learning:
Mona Saraiya, CDC:

This publication (journal article, etc.) was supported by Grant or Cooperative Agreement number NU2GGH001873 funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, The Task Force for Global Health, Inc. or TEPHINET

Resource type
Learning Resource Package

Download the Files for Each Module

Each module contains several files (in Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats). The .zip file packages for each module are available to download below in English and Spanish.