Latest News

Please view the latest news articles from across Europe below. Alternatively, filter by news category or search by keyword.

#Time4Change: Finland

Published on 21 February 2018 back to previous

In Finland, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer for both men and women, responsible for around 10% of all cancer cases in both sexes. Only prostate and breast cancer are more common.1 The incidence is increasing and has been for the long-term.

The good news is that age standardized cancer mortality in colorectal cancer has been declining for the past twenty years in Finland, and the five-year survival rate is currently 66%.

A national screening program has been in place since 2004-2016 in regions that were willing to start screening. The first evaluation has been published,2  which found that screening improved survival, including for patients outside screening. The next phase of the screening programme may use FIT rather than guaiac FOBT.

A fantastic support network

Finland also has a great support network in place for cancer patients.

Colorectal cancer is efficiently treated in public health care system and there are also a wide range of support initiatives to help patients in the course of the disease and in the recovery and rehabilitation back to work and normal life. Some of these activities are organized by Social Insurance Institution of Finland but many are organized by independent associations and societies. The vast majority of supportive and rehabilitating activities are free of charge for the patients.

In addition to various rehabilitation courses organized by all the Finnish cancers societies and associations, the Association of Cancer Patients in Finland has just launched a new project “Me, Cancer and Work”. The project provides relevant information and encourages and advises people who are returning to work after cancer or who are looking for work after cancer. The project organizes meetings, networks and peer support.

Getting the information to all corners of a big country

“One of the challenges in Finland is how to ensure that the information reaches all the people in the need of support and help,” said Jenni Tamminen Executive Director of Colores- the Finnish Colon Cancer Association. “Finland is geographically a long country. Organizations that provide supportive services cover well the country but are not under any single official such as Social Insurance Institution of Finland and all cannot be reached in a single place.

Therefore, especially for elderly people, who do not use the internet, finding support and rehabilitation can be challenging. Similarly, getting the information out about early symptoms and the importance of early detection is difficult. In Finland, approximately one third of the colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed at the metastatic stage. The even distribution of information is something we are focussing on.”



2)    BMJ Open Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun 8;2(1):e000034. doi: 10.1136/bmjgast-2015-000034. eCollection 2015


Registration No: 5314195 Registered Office: 92 Palatine Road, London N16 8ST.