Rays of Hope

Cancer care for all

With more than 19 million new cases and 10 million deaths in 2020 alone, the global annual cancer burden is expected to grow. In the next two decades, there will be 30 million new cases and 16 million cancer deaths. The disease places its heaviest burden on low- and middle-income countries, where over 70% of cancer deaths are expected to occur, yet these countries receive only 5% of global spending in this area.

The projects included in Rays of Hope, based on sustainability, build or strengthen radiation safety legislation and infrastructure and provide quality control, guidance, training and equipment. Rays of Hope combines several elements into a set of interventions that build on and complement each other in order to maximize impact. Through a sharp focus on countries without radiotherapy or with inequitable access, Rays of Hope focuses on prioritizing a limited number of high-impact, cost-effective and sustainable interventions in line with national needs and commitment.

Rays of Hope contributes to the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), Indicator 3.4 to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third.

The IAEA’s role in fighting cancer

The IAEA has six decades of experience in helping countries fight cancer, and it has been doing so in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO). The assistance provided by the IAEA has enabled many countries to establish and/or strengthen safe, secure and effective radiation medicine (radiotherapy, radiology and nuclear medicine) capabilities. However, the IAEA needs more resources to bridge the enormous shortfall in equipment and highly skilled and well-trained personnel in developing countries.


The IAEA is focusing on forging new partnerships and tapping into diverse funding sources, including from governments, international financing institutions and the private sector to ensure maximum reach, impact and sustainability of Rays of Hope.

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