About WHO

About the International Agency for Research on Cancer

Who we are

IARC building with WHO flag

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the specialized cancer research agency of WHO, established in May 1965 by a resolution of the World Health Assembly.

The Agency is a multidisciplinary research institute with expertise in epidemiology, laboratory sciences, biostatistics, and bioinformatics.

What we do

Local women help with screening

IARC scientists work with national partners worldwide to provide the evidence-base for cancer prevention. Learn more about what IARC does:

How we are governed

Representatives from Participating States at IARC's Governing Council meeting where they sit around a rectangular table

IARC is governed by its Governing Council and Scientific Council.

The Governing Council comprises representatives from each Participating State, plus the WHO Director-General. It adopts IARC’s budget, nominates Scientific Council members, decides on the Agency’s strategy and rollout of activities, and elects its Director.

The Scientific Council evaluates IARC’s research and makes recommendations on its programme of activities.

Who we work with

Participants at summer school listening to a session, as they take notes on laptops

IARC works with a wide range of organizations: other WHO programmes, national cancer and public health institutes, cancer research centres, academic institutions, regional cancer networks, expert committees and national agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the media.


Cameramen with their equipment, recording an IARC statement meeting

IARC promotes cancer prevention and communicates scientific results to the general public and the media.

Follow IARC on Twitter @IARCWHO and contact the IARC Press Officer at terrassev@iarc.fr for all media requests.

Planning, finance and accountability

Placeholder photo

IARC works to implement its Medium-Term Strategy and is financed from a combination of a regular budget from Participating States and extrabudgetary resources.

Where we work

IARC leads and coordinates research projects the world over, with a strong focus on low- and middle-income countries.

IARC’s headquarters is located in Lyon, France, where it has been since the Agency was established in 1965.