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The purpose of the Cancer Society of Finland is to beat cancer. The Cancer Society works to reduce the risks and harm in society that cancer causes. Social advocacy is an important tool for implementing the CSF strategy and advancing the set objectives. Our advocacy work is both national and regional.

In 2018, we strengthened the framework conditions for our advocacy work by establishing a new expert position for advocacy communications. The specialist’s primary task is to implement, coordinate and develop the organisation’s advocacy work. The CSF advocacy plan for 2018–2019 was drafted during the spring. The plan contains methods of advocacy, topical issues and the first-ever comprehensive description of the CSF’s social objectives. The organisation’s key messages were defined in the autumn.


2018 started under the assumption that Finland’s county elections would take place in October 2018. In keeping with the CSF operational plan, we prepared a set of objectives for both the county elections and the 2019 parliamentary elections. CSF experts, managers and elected officials were actively involved in drafting the objectives.

The six most important objectives are as follows:

  1. advancing a health-based tax reform
  2. reducing the use of tobacco and nicotine products
  3. improving cancer screening
  4. achieving faster access to medical care
  5. keeping client fees at a reasonable level
  6. ensuring the quality of palliative and end-of-life care.

During spring and summer, the advocacy communications specialist met nearly all experts in charge of the Finnish parties’ election programme preparations. The goal was to incorporate the CSF’s objectives into the parties’ own policy objectives.


The CSF’s objective is to influence the drafting of the 2019 Government Programme so that it would include the following items: launching a screening programme for colorectal cancer, expanding the screening programme for cervical cancer and breast cancer, and transferring the responsibility for screening to larger areas. During the autumn, CSF representatives met with Members of Parliament and experts from parliamentary group offices. Also in the autumn, Helsingin Sanomat published an article by CSF on the topic of screening.

FICAN – the National Cancer Centre

Five regional cancer centres were established in Finland in 2018. The task of the regional centres and the national coordination unit to be established in 2019 is to develop and harmonise practices related to cancer treatments, prevention and rehabilitation. The establishment of FICAN, the National Cancer Centre of Finland, was seen by the CSF as a good opportunity for advocacy. In early autumn 2018 and to support advocacy work, we started to design a website, Potilaan polku, to describe the cancer patient’s care pathway.

The website describes a patient’s needs and the kinds of services a patient should have access to at different stages of the pathway. The website also includes action-oriented recommendations for policymakers and healthcare providers. Part of the pathway concept is to integrate the CSF’s services and public services into one chain.

The project group working on the pathway concept includes representatives of CSF member associations. A preliminary debate on the concept was held at the September meeting of executive directors, and the December meeting developed it even further.


During the year in review, the Cancer Society of Finland issued five statements, which were all submitted to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The statements concerned the following matters:

Medicines policy

During 2018, we increased our contribution to the debate on medicines policy in Finland, for instance with an opinion piece published in Helsingin Sanomat and by initiating the planning of a study on the introduction of new medicines.


CSF social advocacy work in 2018 involved several collaborative projects or networks. The work especially focused on four networks:

  • Yksi elämä (One Life). The advocacy work within the One Life project got off to a slow start during 2018. The project network convened a few times towards the end of the year to plan its election advocacy.
  • Network for Preventive Substance Abuse Work. CSF representatives participated in the network’s election working group, which drafted the network’s objectives for the parliamentary and county elections. A CSF representative also contributed to the network’s strategy work.
  • Model country for personalised cancer treatment by 2020. In 2018, this project focused on organising advocacy events. There were six events held in different parts of Finland. The CSF was actively involved in the event in Pori, which was held on the occasion of the SuomiAreena public debate forum. The theme was equality in cancer treatment.
  • Access to Medicines Task Force (ECL). In 2016, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) established the Access to Medicines Task Force. A CSF representative has contributed to the work of the task force. In June, at the request of ECL, we sent a letter to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health about European collaboration in health technology assessment (HTA).

Parliament’s cancer network

The Parliament’s cancer network met once during 2018. The CSF is also a member of POTKA, the Network for Patient Organisations, which is part of SOSTE, the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health. CSF’s secretary general has chaired the SOSTE rehabilitation network.


The advocacy communications specialist organised advocacy training during the course of the year. The topics included election advocacy and social advocacy.