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The aim of the Cancer Society of Finland is, according to its regulations, to prevent the harm that cancer causes to our people. In addition to health promotion, advice, rehabilitation, communications, and research, the CSF strives to further this aim by influencing policy decisions.

In order to achieve its aims, the CSF makes use of formal channels of influence as well as a variety of networks. In terms of advocacy work, it is essential that the CSF be seen to be a reliable and independent partner


Sari Sarkomaa MP launched the parliamentarians’ cancer network during the new parliament. The Cancer Society of Finland supports the operation of the network and participated in a network meeting at the Parliament in April.

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health  

The CSF and other members of the Finnish Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance regularly met with officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (MSAH)  and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on matters concerning the promotion of health and wellbeing. This collaboration supports the fulfilment of the government’s key project and the monitoring of the WHO’s NCD action programme

Representatives of the CSF played an important role in the ministry’s mass screening working group. One reason the working group is the objective stated in the government programme of reevaluating the tasks and responsibilities of municipalities. The research and studies of the Finnish Cancer Registry will be drawn on as background information for when the ministry later decides on continuing screening programmes and possibly broadening them.

CSF representatives were in the working group in charge of planning the activities of the Comprehensive Cancer Centre Finland, the MSAH’s Biobank Act steering group, and the Finnish Medicines Agency’s pharmaceutical information working group. The CSF was in regular contact with officials at the MSAH preparing the reforms of the acts on tobacco and alcohol. The secretary general was a representative of the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (Soste) on the advisory board on biotechnology.

Other authorities and collaborations

The association has continued to cooperate with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Finance, Customs, the Police Administration, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health and ship owners concerning problems related to the illegal import of snus.

By the end of the year, THL had completed the task commissioned by the MSAH to prepare a proposal for time limits on access to cancer treatment and the establishment of a monitoring system for them. The CSF concluded an agreement with THL on its involvement in the determining time limits and research into this issue. The project utilized the expertise of the CSF’s senior medical officer and data from the Finnish Cancer Registry.

The Secretary General served as a member of the research and evaluation section of the National Sports Council. The National Sports Council is an expert body working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Culture.

EU legislation

Member States were required to include the provisions of the Tobacco Products Directive adopted in 2014 in their national legislation by May 2016. The Directive prohibits, among other things, the use of flavourings in cigarettes. This is significant for Finland, as about a quarter of cigarettes sold in Finland are menthol cigarettes. The ban is subject to a transitional period until the end of May 2020. The most visible changes concern tobacco packaging. Cigarette packs are marked with compulsory text and graphic warnings covering 65 per cent of the front and back of the pack. The new national law came into force at the beginning of August.

Finnish Cancer Registry

The cancer register plays a major role in producing the information needed for national cancer policy. The Cancer Registry maintains a database of all cancer cases in Finland and acts as a statistical and epidemiological research institute on cancer. The Mass Screening Registry, a department of the Cancer Registry, maintains a database of cancer screening programmes and plans, and evaluates nationwide cancer screenings. Data from the Cancer Registry and Mass Screening Registry are used to generate nationwide cancer and screening statistics, studies on cancer, and support health policy decision-making.


The CSF is a member of the Finnish Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance. In addition to the CSF, there are seven other health and patient organisations involved in the alliance: the Finnish Brian Association, the Finnish Diabetes Association, Finnish Lung Health Association, Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland, Association for Mental Health, Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, and the Finnish Heart Association.

The CSF secretary general is a member of the board of Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (Soste). The organization has an important influence on social and health policy and as an advocate on general issues. In addition, the secretary general is the representative of Soste on the Advisory Board on Pharmaceutical Research of the Pharmaceutical Industry.

The Health Department’s surgeons and other experts are expert in many working groups and collaborative networks aimed at preventing cancer.

The senior medical officers and other specialists of the CSF’s health department play expert roles in many working groups and networks that work on cancer prevention.