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  • Center for Global Cancer Medicine

    Addressing an Urgent Need

    The Center for Global Cancer Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute brings its mission of patient care, research, and teaching to under-resourced settings throughout the world. The Center is committed to providing cancer care to many adults and children who would otherwise have no chance of surviving their diagnosis.

    President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Lawrence Shulman, MD, and others at the Butaro Cancer CenterLeft to right: Lawrence Shulman, MD, Presidential Scholar, Center for Global Cancer Medicine; Agnes Binagwaho, MD, PhD, Rwandan Minister of Health; Chelsea Clinton, MPH, MPhil, DPhil; Bill Clinton, former U.S. President, current president, Clinton Foundation; Jeff Gordon, professional stock car racing driver, president, Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation; Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, co-founder, Partners In Health.

    Advancing Global Cancer Care

    staff members in Boston  

    The Center for Global Cancer Medicine (CGCM) was established in 2012 with the goals of providing care, conducting research, and building capacity in under-resourced settings. The Center operates in tandem with the non-profit Partners In Health, in collaboration with several major global cancer institutions around the world, and through long-term partnerships with the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in Rwanda and the Mirebalais University Hospital in Haiti. Donor generosity supports these efforts.

    Members of the CGCM have also contributed to the work of the World Health Organization, the Union for International Cancer Control, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, among other establishments. We support advances at all levels of cancer service delivery in low-income settings — a mission that fits in the spirit of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute itself, which aims to make cancer care available to all who need it.


    Dana-Farber engages with many partners around the world to provide global cancer care. Learn more about some of our core collaborators:

    Pediatric global oncology

    The Pediatric Global Health Initiative — a program of Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center — is working to establish centers of excellence in the developing world and train the next generation of leaders. Its mission is to increase the survival of children with cancer and blood disorders, worldwide.

    Contact us

    Email if you would like to contribute or get involved.


    Rwanda Partnership

    Cancer Center sign  

    Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence

    The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE), located in the rural northern province of Burera in Rwanda, is a leading initiative for the Center for Global Cancer Medicine. After several years of informal collaboration through Partners In Health, Dana-Farber staff members joined President Bill Clinton to dedicate the Center in July, 2012. Before the Center opened, there were no dedicated public cancer treatment services in Rwanda.

    More than 2,000 cancer patients were cared for at BBCOE in the first two years. As the primary location for cancer treatment nationwide, BCCOE also offers oncology training for physicians and nurses in Rwanda.

    • Patients with treatable cancers receive care at no cost
    • Biopsies are obtained and processed at the hospital
    • Diagnoses are made jointly between Rwandan and US clinicians using advanced tele-pathology methods
    • Clinicians in Rwanda receive weekly consults by Dana-Farber oncologists
    • Dana-Farber clinicians make extended consulting visits

    Read Dr. Cyprien Shyirambere's account of providing cancer care in Rwanda.

    Read about Sibo Tuyishimire's experience as a young cancer patient in Rwanda.

    Read Dr. Shulman's first-hand accounts of bringing cancer care to Rwanda and opening the Butaro Center.

    Read about Dana-Farber's partnership in Rwanda in Nature Reviews Cancer.

    Read an update from Leslie Lehmann, MD, about the concept of “twinning,” in which American-trained clinicians teach their Rwandan colleagues.

    Nursing Fellowship for Sustainable Cancer Care

    Nurses are essential to safe and effective cancer care in resource-poor settings. In order to train local nurses in oncology fundamentals — such as preparing chemotherapy drugs, administering chemotherapy accurately and safely, helping patients manage symptoms and side effects, and keeping accurate records — Dana-Farber introduced a nursing fellowship program in Rwanda in 2013. Working and teaching at Butaro Cancer Center for three-month intervals, Dana-Farber nurses have been an invaluable asset to sustained progress in cancer service delivery in Rwanda, and two dozen Rwandan nurses have been trained to provide exemplary services on the oncology unit.

    Read more about the Dana-Farber Nursing Fellowship Program in Rwanda from Lori Buswell and Barbara Virchick.

    nurses in front of map of Africa


    Haiti Partnership

    Mirebalais Hospital

    Dana-Farber's mission in Haiti, as it is in 
Rwanda, is to:

    • Train local doctors and nurses
    • Establish a cancer care delivery system
    • Build
systems for keeping medical records
    • Provide a
foundation for research
    • Establish the country's first radiation therapy facility

    Following the 2010 earthquake that destroyed Haiti's largest hospital and damaged much of the country's health care infrastructure, the Haitian government expanded its plans to construct a small hospital in the city of Mirebalais. In April 2013, these efforts culminated with the opening of University Hospital of Mirebalais. Based on its successful partnership in Rwanda, the
Center for Global Cancer Medicine and PIH are collaborating with Mirebalais to bring cancer care
to Haiti.

    Today, University Hospital of Mirebalais is the only provider of free oncology services in Haiti. Cancer care at Mirebalais includes:

    • Education
    • Screening and prevention
    • Intravenous and oral chemotherapy
    • Cancer surgery
    • Counseling and support groups to help patients cope with a cancer diagnosis and treatment side effects
    • Palliative care

    More than 40 patients are treated daily in the hospital's outpatient cancer clinic. As more patients are treated for cancer, it is essential to build robust systems to track data, share knowledge, and conduct research.

    Read more about cancer care in Haiti through a first-hand account by Dr. Ruth Damuse, Oncology Program Director in Haiti.

    clinicians in Haiti


    Influencing the Future of Global Cancer Medicine

    The Center for Global Cancer Medicine is dedicated to influencing worldwide policies about cancer care, particularly to benefit those in under-resourced countries. Through symposia, publications, and collaborations, the Center addresses the following facts about cancer around the world.

    • Cancer is often viewed as a disease of the developed world, yet the vast majority of cancer deaths occur in low to middle income countries.
    • Low- to middle-income countries receive only about five percent of the global resources for cancer care and control.
    • In sub-Saharan Africa alone, it is anticipated that 1 million patients will be diagnosed with cancer by 2020, and most will have no access to treatment.

    Essential cancer medicines

    Thanks to the work of Lawrence Shulman, MD, Presidential Scholar of the Center for Global Cancer Medicine, 22 cancer drugs have been added to the World Health Organization's (WHO) List of Essential Medicines. Dr. Shulman and colleagues assembled more than 90 oncologists from around the world, and led the process of deciding which cancer drugs should be recommended for inclusion. Multiple protocols were authored or peer-reviewed by 15 Dana-Farber oncologists.

    See the full application

    National Cancer Institute — Global Cancer Symposium

    For the past several years, the United States National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center for Global Health has hosted a satellite meeting during the Annual Conference of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. The NCI invited the Center for Global Cancer Medicine to co-host the event in Boston in March 2015. This meeting brought oncologists from far and wide, providing an opportunity for networking in Boston, presentation of abstracts, and promoting case-based learning.

    Read more about the Symposium

    Journal of Clinical Oncology — Special Edition on Global Cancer Medicine

    In 2014, Dr. Larry Shulman was asked to be the Guest-Editor of a Special Issue devoted entirely to global cancer medicine, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). A set of peer-reviewed articles have been solicited from authors around the world, with a focus on implementation science. The publication of the JCO Special Issue will occur in early summer, 2015, and will be accompanied by a series of press releases.

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