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In 2022, the total grants amounted to around €7.35 million, which funded 93 researchers.


Grants for cancer research. In 2022, the total grants amounted to around €7.35 million, which funded 93 researchers (Annex). In 2022, the Cancer Foundation had only one grant cycle: one major grand in the autumn and other grants for research teams and doctoral dissertations. The spring travel grants were not opened as, due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, a large part of the 2020 travel grants were still unused and were extended until the end of 2022.

The application principles and award criteria for the grants are subject to annual review, and experts from the Cancer Foundation met again in May to assess the need for improvements. In 2022, the principles and criteria remained essentially unchanged. Grant decisions continue to be based on expert assessments by the Cancer Foundation’s evaluation committees and the recommendation of the Grants Committee. There is no longer a separate funding allocation for psychosocial cancer research. Planning for further development in this area of cancer research started in autumn 2022.

Other scientific support

Cancer Registry and Mass Screening Registry support. The Cancer Registry and its associated Mass Screening Registry receive funding to maintain the basic functions defined in the regulations through the THL as a state subsidy. The government’s cuts in funding for the THL have also affected the subsidies received by the registries. The Cancer Foundation has supported the registries with an annual amount of €1 150 000. In addition, the Cancer Foundation finances the post of an epidemiological researcher assigned to the Cancer Registry (total costs € 60 000). The post is intended for a researcher preparing a doctoral thesis.

The Foundation for the Finnish Cancer Institute was set up at the time by agreement between the Ministry of Education and the CSF with the aim of reducing the permanent relocation of Finnish cancer researchers abroad. The ministry and the Cancer Foundation initially supported the Foundation for the Finnish Cancer with matching grants. Since 2013, the ministry has not awarded any government grants to the foundation. On the other hand, the K. Albin Johansson Foundation has emerged as a new major donor alongside the Cancer Foundation in the 2000s.

There has been a division of labour between the Cancer Foundation and the Foundation for the Finnish Cancer: the latter maintains the research activities and the former supports cancer research in other ways. The Cancer Foundation prepared to continue supporting the research activities of the Finnish Cancer Institute in 2023 and continued to prepare a cooperation agreement. This agreement defines the principles and criteria for funding research activities for the coming years.

The Nordic Cancer Union (NCU) Cancer Research Fund was allocated €193,965 to fund joint Nordic research projects.

Other support. The Cancer Foundation awarded a one-year grant to Dr Allan Tita for research and publication on the 75th anniversary of the Cancer Foundation.

The Finnish Cancer Registry as a national data repository and data service provider

Compilation of cancer cases. On behalf of the THL, the Cancer Registry maintains national register data on cancers and cancer screenings for the whole of Finland. For all new cancer cases in 2022, a case composite was produced at the Cancer Registry, compiling key information on the stage of cancer detection (time of detection, location, tissue diagnosis, spread and mode of detection). Case composites are generated both automatically and by persons trained in registration. During 2022, cancer data from 2021-2022 in particular was processed. It was possible to speed up the processing of the data so that the preliminary statistics for 2022 could be published as early as April 2023. The Cancer Registry was able to provide audited and aggregated data for research up to the end of the statistical year 2020 and preliminary statistics for 2021. Long time series and projections of the development of the cancer burden were produced, as is the case every year, using the extensive historical data of the Registry.

During 2022, a total of 28 390 clinical cancer notifications were received, including 1 048 submitted on paper, around 8 000 via the online service and some 18 300 in data system entries. The number has not changed significantly compared to the previous year, with a slight decrease in the number of notifications. The number of cancer notifications on paper has decreased by almost a third, which is in line with the objectives. The number of notifications received varies from month to month, as the aim has been to automate the delivery of notifications in the form of IT batches to be carried out on a quarterly basis.

Figure 6 shows the notifications entered in the database by source. In addition to clinical notifications, approximately 9 100 care notifications were received during 2022, of which 7 330 were received via the web service and 1 790 as information system outputs. All pathology notifications were received as electronic data transmissions, for a total of 288 780 separate diagnoses. The increase in the number is explained, among other things, by the expansion of the data collections. A total of 17 564 death notifications, mainly for 2021, were received from Statistics Finland for processing in the Cancer Registry. Of these, cancer was the statistical underlying cause patient mortality in 13 555 cases.

The Cancer Registry upgraded the automated cancer case compilation by developing new precursor automata, especially for colorectal screening data needs. Of the data entered into the Cancer Registry, about half can be processed by the automaton. The aim of automated processing is to reduce the workload of manual cancer registration and to make the work as consistent and timely as possible. All cancer notifications received by a patient are taken into account when creating a case report. The automated processing is based only on structured data. Therefore, high quality, structured data is particularly important to ensure accurate registration. A systematic quality check of the registrations compiled by the automated system was carried out during 2022 using random sampling. The accuracy and quality of the data were found to be excellent, but data such as distribution information is often missing because it is not provided as structured data to the Cancer Registry. The compilation of cases also requires the skills of trained professionals. With automated processing, the skills of professionals will be used in particular for more sophisticated compilations, evaluation and the development of data collection.

Products. The 2020 cancer statistics were published in April 2022 and the Cancer report in June 2022. The report summarises the current cancer situation in Finland in simple figures and statistics. The Tutka development programme added information on regional differences in cancer as new content to the report. The regional distribution of the cancer burden was uneven, with differences in both cancer incidence and mortality. The differences were largest for lung cancer in women: Helsinki, Lapland and Åland had significantly higher rates of female lung cancer than the rest of the country.

The preliminary statistics for 2021 were published earlier than ever, in August 2022. Based on the preliminary statistics and cancer projections, there were around 1 600 fewer new cancers diagnosed than would have been expected without the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic appears to have had a particular impact on the detection of breast and prostate cancers and skin melanomas.

Annual statistics and reviews of breast and cervical cancer screening data for 2020 were published. Breast cancer screening participation was 292,000 women (81%), with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on breast cancer screening programme participation remaining relatively low based on 2020 screening data. Participation in cervical cancer screening in 2020 remained at the same level as in previous years, at 70%. The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the cervical cancer screening programme in parts of Finland in 2020, but screening continued into 2021, and there was no change from previous years. The majority of screening is already done using HPV testing instead of the pap test that was previously used. Responsibility for screening will be transferred from municipalities to welfare regions from the beginning of 2023.

To support the work of researchers, the Finnish Cancer Registry has an interactive statistical tool, updated twice a year, which allows researchers to search themselves for a wide range of information on different cancers and cancer burden trends. The webpages are always updated with the release of new statistics.

A new statistical application called Syöpien tietolaatikot (Cancer Data Boxes – Cancer Register ( was implemented in the Cancer Register. The Cancer Data Boxes bring together key statistics on different cancers in an easily navigable format. The breast and cervical cancer databox also contains screening information.

Cancer Foundation Symposium

Since 1974, the Cancer Foundation has organised an annual symposium for doctors and other experts involved in cancer treatment and diagnosis. The symposium covers a wide range of topics in the diagnosis and treatment of various cancers. Some symposia have dealt with several types of cancer at the same time. The symposia have been highly regarded by clinicians and researchers alike, with around 150 participants each year. In October 2022, the 48th Cancer Foundation Expert Symposium, originally planned for February 2021, was finally held at Korpilammki in Espoo, Finland. The theme was tumours of the kidney, bladder and testis.

Strengthening cancer awareness through grants, education and communication

Training cooperation. Raising cancer awareness is an important part of the work of cancer organisations. Lectures on cancer were organised for first year medical students and nurses in collaboration with the Southern Cancer Centre (FICAN South).

Training courses on cancer prevention and the services of the CSF were organised for both students and teachers in universities of applied sciences. The aim was to increase knowledge and understanding of cancer prevention among teachers, students and other professionals.

Cancer Registry training. The Cancer Registry strengthens its own expertise by providing continuous training for different professional groups. In 2022, two training sessions were organised, one on SNOMED CT classification and the other on OMOP coding at the HUS registry. In addition, Cancer Registry experts have participated in an online training course provided by ENCR on the ICD-O-3.2 code changes. The Cancer Registry works closely with the Nordic and EU cancer registries. In connection with the annual ANCR meeting of the Nordic cancer registries, the Finnish Cancer Registry has been responsible for leading and coordinating the registration workshop for several years. In 2022, the meeting was held in the Faroe Islands, and the theme of the workshop was bladder tumours and the implications of the SNOMED CT code for registration. About 40 participants attended the workshop, three from Finland. The Finnish Cancer Registry is responsible for organising the next ANCR meeting, for which planning started in autumn 2022.

Clear objectives have been defined for the training sessions to be organised and for participation in the training sessions. The aim is to strengthen skills in order to produce better quality information and a self-directed approach. Comprehensive documentation of work, modelling of information flows and making information handling processes visible are also essential elements of this activity. These were strongly developed during 2022 by producing process diagrams and documentation of the information handling in the cancer registry. The use of the Pedanet platform for screening training continued in 2022.

The Cancer Registry provides ongoing training for researchers and students (e.g. pro-graduate theses in statistics and health sciences), as well as guidance for postgraduate studies and doctoral theses in medicine at various universities. In 2022, the Director of Statistics at the Cancer Registry was a part-time professor of epidemiology.

Strategic research and other expert content

Strategic research at the Finnish Cancer Society has focused on cancer determinants and anticancer drugs. In 2022, a study on the uptake of new anticancer drugs in Finland was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice.

In autumn 2022, the cancer organisations participated in the preparation and implementation of a course on drug regulation, research and policy at the University of Tampere.

The CSF also contributed to the writing of the chapter on electronic cigarettes for the Duodecim book on tobacco and nicotine addiction.

On cancer prevention, a chapter on health in all policies was written for the Duodecim book on health promotion and a chapter on global health policy for the University of Tampere’s book on global social policy.

At the end of the year, the CSF participated in the preparation of the new EU Joint Action on the prevention of cancer and other non-communicable diseases, where the CSF was responsible for leading the Health in All Policies work package together with THL.