Cancer epidemiology in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Cancer has taken its toll in the region. (Please open this page to learn more)


Triple C

6/26/20231 min read

In 2005, 60% of worldwide deaths were attributable to chronic disease (cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes), and 80% of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Cancer already accounts for more deaths in the developing world than tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS combined.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for 48% of deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2018. The main causes of death attributed to NCDs were cardiovascular diseases (10%) and cancer (5%).

The DRC is facing more than 25,000 patients requiring cancer treatment each year, according to the imPACT review report published in November 2021 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in collaboration with the WHO and the Government of the DRC.

Government facilities generally have basic capacities in pathology however, they have limited trained team as well as less adapted biology and medical imaging to diagnose and treat cancer patients across the vast territory according to the same report.

  1. Abegunde DO, Mathers CD, Adam T, Ortegon M, Strong K. The burden and costs of chronic diseases in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet. 2007 Dec 8;370(9603):1929–38.

  2. Kerr DJ, Midgley R. Can We Treat Cancer for a Dollar a Day? Guidelines for Low-Income Countries. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(9):801–3.

  3. World Health Organization- Country Profiles on Non-Communicable Diseases, 2018.

  4. IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) November 2021.