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The start of 2022 was still marked by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As the pandemic gradually subsided in late February, Russia invaded Ukraine, causing a major change in the operational environment, which was also reflected in Finland.

Our security situation changed and towards the end of the year, as the weather turned colder, we experienced a rise in energy prices and an electricity crisis. These affected the activities and fundraising of several third sector organisations. On the other hand, having to work with a hybrid model had already been learned during the pandemic and many meetings were held virtually. Gradually, especially in the second half of the year, face-to-face meetings in the Cancer Society of Finland (CSF) also became possible. The CSF participated in a fundraising campaign coordinated by the UICC to ensure treatment for cancer patients in Ukraine with €50 000.

The Council, Boards and Committees met mainly in hybrid meetings (some attending in-person, others remotely), while other meetings were held remotely. The traditional Cancer Society days could finally be held in Turku in May.

The CSF’s new rules and regulations were adopted in the spring and our first general assembly was held in December. 2022 saw many changes in the key players of the CSF. We can thank our long-serving Secretary General, Associate Professor Sakari Karjalainen, for his important work for our association. Associate Professor Nea Malila, who has long served as Director of the Cancer Registry, retired and was succeeded by Professor Janne Pitkäniemi. Marika Skyttä, Doctor of Health Science D.Sc., was elected as the new Director of the Health Department. Following the end of Professor Sirpa Lepä’s term as Chair of the Board, Rauno Ihalainen, DPhil, was elected Chair of the Board at the December meeting.

The CSF’s targets for the elections were set in the spring. Their aim is to influence the development of a national cancer strategy in Finland, which is also a key element in other European countries. The need for such a strategy was raised at various points in consultations with stakeholders and also at the Suomi-areena public debate forum, held in Pori in July.

The CSF is funded by government grants – from the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) – by membership fees (from member associations) and its own fundraising activities. Support for non-profit activities of the CSF from revenue from Veikkaus, the Finnish national betting agency, will stop at the end of 2023, and from 2024 onwards the money will be part of the state budget as an item of expenditure affecting the budgetary framework. The proposal for the allocation of state grants for the promotion of health and social well-being will be prepared by STEA, which is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The minister responsible for such grants will take the decision on this.

Our own fundraising provides a stable financial base. The Cancer Foundation’s fundraising activity has been significantly strengthened and the its role as a sponsor of the CSF and its member associations has become even more important. However, the Cancer Foundation and the CSF member associations face pressure for donations due to mounting inflation and other factors affecting the economy. The Cancer Foundation and the Pink Ribbon campaign are among Finland’s best-known non-profit causes, according to reputation surveys. In 2022, the Pink Ribbon fundraiser collected €5 million, an all-time record.

Cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation require robust research to make progress. The Cancer Foundation is the main private funder of cancer research in Finland. In 2022, the Foundation disbursed more than €7.3 million in research grants.
Individual members of the CSF belong to local associations and national patient organisations. The challenges and future of fundraising and membership of member associations will be planned and developed in the coming years.

As a result of the long-term work of the Cancer Registry, national screening for colorectal cancer started in 2022. Through Nordic cooperation, it was found that the Covid-19 epidemic reduced the number of cancer cases detected in Finland by 1600 cases in 2022, the effects of which need to be monitored. The cost of cancer treatment is monitored annually, and the latest study shows that €1.4 billion is spent on cancer treatment in Finland. The statistics published by the Cancer Registry provide up-to-date and follow-up information on cancer throughout Finland.

The new wellbeing services counties start operating from the beginning of 2023. We will monitor how cancer care and organisational activities will continue in the new environment.

The CSF works with people and for people. This gives our volunteers, elected officials, employees and donors a strong foundation for their contributions.