Cancer Care


Ukraine has approximately 160,000 new cancer patients each year, with a total of 1.3 million patients with cancer currently living in the country.

- The ASCO Post.

At the start of the war, roughly 80 percent of oncologists in Ukraine fled the country. Cancer was the second leading cause of death behind cardiovascular disease. An estimated 139,000 Ukrainians were diagnosed cancer, and between 1,000 and 1,200 children were receiving cancer treatment. 

Stan Polozov, a Ukrainian oncologist and researcher, and Ross Filippenko, a fellow Kharkiv native and mathematician, teamed up to establish Mission Kharkiv, which responds to requests for oncology medicine from oncologists and patients in Kharkiv.

With the region’s public cancer hospital destroyed, Mission Kharkiv is enabling no-cost treatment for the region’s cancer patients at St. Gregory’s Hospital. More than 500 patients have received cancer medicine through Mission Kharkiv. The organization has also supported over 30 patients who needed to travel outside Ukraine for treatment.

Direct Relief has donated four tons of oncology medicines worth over $25.5 million to Mission Kharkiv. With these donations, Mission Kharkiv now has enough rituximab, for example, for all cancer patients in need of that therapy in Kharkiv and is working on expanding the program to other regions in Ukraine.

Kateryna worked as a social worker most of her life before retiring. She was very grateful for receiving medication and for Direct Relief’s helping people in Ukraine.

Over the past year, Direct Relief has coordinated with groups, including the International Union for Cancer Control, the European Cancer Organization, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to assess the chemotherapy and adjunctive cancer medicine needs of Ukraine’s hospitals.

Direct Relief’s cancer related donations have supported the national Ministry of Health and its public cancer units in coordination with the National Cancer Institute in Kyiv, as well as Mission Kharkiv.

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more than 270,000 units (bottles, vials, or pre-filled syringes) of cancer medications

with a wholesale value exceeding $110 million

Donations came from companies including Amgen, AstraZeneca, Baxter, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Jazz, Hikma, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, and Viatris.


Since the war began, Direct Relief supplied Ukrainian hospitals with: