Reduce global cancer burden through open source, iterative, online cancer literacy program for low to middle-income communities and NGOs/NPs



More people worldwide die from cancer than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.(1) Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that more than half of new cancer cases worldwide occur in economically developing countries. These countries also have nearly double the number of deaths from cancer as economically developed countries.(2) Despite advances in developed countries, cancer remains a significant and under recognized problem in developing countries. The World Health Organization has established a global target of reducing premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases, including cancer, by 25% by 2025.(3)

A key barrier to addressing the cancer burden in low to middle-income countries is cancer literacy. We propose creating an anthology of resources that can both inspire and encourage people to take action by increasing cancer literacy. This will be an open source, online cancer literacy resource for low to middle-income communities and NGOs. We will curate and share best practices and implementation strategies, lessons learned, and effective program recommendations from NGOs and non-profits already working to address cancer burden. Understanding both the opportunities and challenges to education will be critical. We’ll partner with local organizations/research companies and NGOS/non-profits already in the country to identify the best approaches for reaching each audience, based on cultural preferences, norms and expectations. To be effective and make an impact, we’ll tailor both the resource materials and the distribution strategy based on market/community.

What does success look like here? After one year of collecting data and curating case studies, we hope to develop an algorithm to identify and help predict what best practices and key cancer literacy programs should be implemented based on country, demographic and infrastructure-specific criteria. 

What are the key outcomes and impact of your solution?

The First Online Cancer Literacy Resource

More is needed to improve cancer literacy and encourage behavioral change in an effort to increase earlier detection and ultimately, help improve outcome (including more screenings and preventative changes). The overall approach will encompass several parts, that will build upon each other to maximize impact. The resource will be available online and materials will also be distributed locally through NGO/nonprofit partners. Research will be conducted to identify existing resources and information, as well as materials that will need to be developed. Such locally-relevant educational and advocacy multimedia materials may include:

·       Videos (e.g., animated, silent, local language, visuals only, etc.)

·       Flyers/posters/pamphlets for medical clinics/hospitals, schools, libraries, churches, schools, mobile health units, markets, convenience stores, police/fire stations, airlines

·       Comic books/graphic novels/character animations for schools/libraries

·       Materials to guide conversations for patients and caregivers

·       Social media recommendations, as applicable

·       Guidance for holding educational events

·       Implementation strategies

·       Best practices from NGOs

·       Lessons learned

·       Physician case studies

We’ll partner with local organizations to customize and distribute materials to communities. Working with a local partner will allow us to leverage already established community relationships, networks and infrastructure to capture existing audiences.  

Better Addressing the Cancer Burden in Low to Middle Income Countries

In addition to increasing dialogue about the cancer burden, cancer symptoms and disease prevention/screening, it will be important to ensure physicians are trained to make earlier diagnoses.

We’ll partner with a telemedicine/health system that can provide remote training and connect patients with physicians remotely for initial evaluations.

What actions do you propose to realize your stated goals?

Who will take these actions?

Target geography

First target country being Haiti


What do you expect are the costs associated with piloting and implementing the solution, and what is your business model?



18-month Budget Overview

·       Online platform and materials curation including cost of programmer ( $45,000; assumes some level of in-kind services from specialists)

·       Administrative including travel/accommodations, filing necessary nonprofit and business licensures ($5,000; assumes in-kind legal and financial advisors)

·       Partnership development, materials development, in-market distribution and program activation in 2 communities ($150,000)

·       Total = $200,000 (one online platform with up to 3 source points for materials to start, one AI algorithm, up to 2 in-communities literacy projects)

·       Above costs assume KickStarter campaign to raise some funds in addition to in-kind services from IMPACTcancer core team network of advisors


Related solutions

Based on our preliminary research, an online, open source cancer literacy resource such as IMPACTcancer does not currently exist. However, some nonprofit organizations are working on cancer research and advocacy in low to middle income countries. One such example is the work being done in Haiti and Rwanda by Partners in Health

Our aim would be that such organizations would serve as program partners and advisors to IMPACTcancer and our group would curate best practices from them and help share more broadly with a specific focus on cancer literacy -- an under-addressed area.




1.    American Cancer Society, Global Cancer Facts and Figures 2007; Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 1

2.    GLOBOCAN 2012.


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Solution Summary
Online, open source cancer literacy program that learns over time
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By:  IMPACTcancer
Challenge: Cure: Chronic Diseases
How can we help people prevent, detect and manage chronic diseases, especially in resources-limited settings?