Cancer prevalence, incidence, and mortality rates in Afghanistan in 2020: A review study

Shayan N. A., Rahimi A., ÖZCEBE L. H.

Cancer Reports, vol.6, no.9, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/cnr2.1873
  • Journal Name: Cancer Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Afghanistan, cancer, incidence, mortality, prevalence, risk factors
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Afghanistan is in an epidemiological transition, as cancer is the second leading cause of mortality due to non-communicable diseases. This study is the first to provide a comprehensive perspective on the overall cancer situation in Afghanistan by discussing the top five most common cancers, their incidence variations, risk factors, and preventive measures. The limited number of cancer studies conducted in Afghanistan highlights the importance of the present review. Recent Findings: This article provides an overview of cancer burden in Afghanistan in 2020. It utilizes IARC-generated GLOBOCAN 2020 data for one, three, and five-year prevalence rates, the estimated number of new cancer cases, and mortality rates by age group in Afghanistan. According to GLOBOCAN, the top five common cancers in both sexes in Afghanistan were breast (n = 3173, 14.3%), stomach (n = 2913, 7.8%), lung (n = 1470, 6.6%), cervix uteri (n = 1200, 5.4%), and colorectum (n = 1084, 4.9%). Conclusion: This study provides a brief overview of the general cancer situation in Afghanistan, and a more in-depth analysis of the five common cancers identified. Effective therapies, awareness, and prevention initiatives targeting lifestyle, immunization, early diagnosis, and environmental risk factors are essential for addressing the impact of population growth and aging on cancer incidence in Afghanistan. Further research and extensive studies are needed to better understand cancer burden in the country.