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

In 2012, there were an estimated 14 million new cancer cases and eight million cancer-related deaths worldwide1. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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

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: **Link to Open Access Article will be posted here when available**

Curriculum 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

  • Main presentation - Participant Version (English 1.1)
  • Main presentation - Facilitator Version (English 1.2)
  • Case Study-Peru
    • Background reading (English
    • Participant version - PowerPoint (English 1.4)
    • Facilitator version - PowerPoint (English 1.3)
  • Appendix A: Common Epidemiological Calculations (English 1.8)
  • Appendix B: Age Standardization Exercise
    • Participant version (English 1.10)
    • Facilitator version (English 1.9)
  • Appendix C: Cancer Control Exercise
    • Participant version (English 1.12)
    • Facilitator Version (English 1.11)

2. Principles of Comprehensive Cancer Control (Spanish version coming soon)

3. Principles of Cancer Registries and Surveillance (Currently available in English and Spanish)

4. Principles of Cancer Screening Programs (Spanish version coming soon)

  • Main presentation – Participant Version (English 4.1)
  • Main presentation – Facilitator Version (English 4.2)
  • In class excercise on Pattern Recognition
    • In-class exercise on pattern recognition - Participant version - PowerPoint (English 4.3)
    • In-class exercise on pattern recognition - Facilitator version - PowerPoint (English 4.4)
    • In-class exercise on pattern recognition - Facilitator version (English 4.5)
  • Zimbabwe Case-Study
  • Optional Excerise for Evaluating Screening Criteria

Claire Jennings, Project Manager, TEPHINET
Mona Saraiya, CDC

1. International Agency for Research on Cancer, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012 2017 [updated 2017. Available from: