National Cancer Control Program (NCCP)

WHO estimates that nearly 20,000 Afghans suffer from various types of cancers each year while more than 15,000 die every year. The most common types of cancers are that of breast, stomach, oesophagus,  lip/oral, cervix, and lung.

To address the increasing cancer incidence and deaths and unavailability of cancer care services in the country, the Ministry of Public Health established the Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Project in 2016. The whole purpose of the Project was to establish services for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Project resumed in March 2016 and was able to establish the first Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Center in Jumhuriat Hospital with 29-bed in IPD and 10-bed in OPD.

In the following year, 2017, the Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Project was promoted to National Cancer Control Program to address the increasing cancer burden through cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, palliative care, research and surveillance, and capacity building.


To decrease new cases and deaths due to cancer and to increase quality of cancer patients


  1. To prevent cancers from occurring
  2. To increase rate of early detection of cancer
  3. To provide high quality cancer diagnosis and treatment
  4. To deliver palliative care services to cancer patients
  5. To collect quality cancer data
  6. To build and develop capacity for cancer prevention and control


According to WHO, between 35 and 50% of cases can be prevented through various measures. Tobacco is the single biggest avoidable risk factor of cancer. It is one of the affective primary prevention intervention. Afghanistan has a comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy; however, the work has initiated on implementing various aspects of this policy. Unhealthy diet, obesity and overweight, physical inactivity, alcohol, and infections, especially HBs and HPV are some of the risk factors which can be avoided.


One of the main objectives of NCCP is to increase the rate of early detection of various types of cancers. Unfortunately, majority of the cases seek healthcare services at advanced stages making the treatment difficult and sometimes impossible. NCCP has organized hundreds of programs in hospitals, universities, educational institutions as well as in public recreation places to raise the awareness of people and health care professional to detect cancer at early stages. Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) and Breast Cancer Day (February 4) are observed each year. In addition,

Breast, cervical, oral, colon and prostate are some of the cancers which can be detected at early stages. In some countries, screening programs are established to for early diagnosis of those cancers; however, screening programs are not cost effective in developing countries.


In August 2016, MoPH inaugurated the first cancer centre in Jumhuriat Hospital. It has 38 medical oncology and 16 surgical oncology beds on 9th and 10th floors respectively. In addition, the 20-bed day-care, OPD and walk-in-clinic is located on second floor of Jumuriat Hospital. Between 60 and 80 people visit the Cancer Center each day. In 2017, more than 12,000 visits were made to the Cancer Center.

 Cancer diagnosis centres are also located in Isteqlal Hospital in Kabul, in Herat and in Mazar e Sharif. There are a number of pathology labs in private sector; however, the first pathology lab is inaugurated in Central Public Lab in Kabul. Efforts are underway to make the radiotherapy available in public and private sector. The construction work of radiotherapy center in Aliabad Hospital has already begun.



Since most people are diagnosed at late stages in Afghanistan, the need for palliative is even greater. The purpose is to improve the quality of life of patients and their relatives of cancer patients physically and psychologically. NCCP is working on establishing institution and home based palliative care services.


NCCP established the first hospital based cancer registry at Jumhuriat Hospital in 2016. With the help of WHO/IARC, NCCP is on its way to establish the Kabul Cancer Registry. Currently, five people work at the cancer registry.


Considering the fact that NCCP is newly established, there is a dire need to build capacity in cancer prevention and control. NCCP has organized various training programs inside and outside the country for the staff. The plan is to send Afghans outside the country for training in medical oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, oncopharmacolog, oncology nursing, etc.

        7. GENERAL 

Contact Information:

Maihan Abdullah, MD, MPH

Head, National Cancer Control Program

0093 20 230 1238

0093 77 100 3100                                                                                                          


Ministry of Public Health

7 Street, Wazir Akbar Khan

Kabul 1002






      Last updated: June 23, 2019