The Nordic Cancer Union provides funding for projects of high standard within the field of cancer amounting to 250.000 euros annually.

These projects  aim at ameliorating relevant cancer problems in the member countries. The projects funded by the NCU meet strict requirements, with priority given to projects and initiatives that reflect the current general strategy of the NCU and have added Nordic value.

The NCU has thus supportede.g.  the NORDCAN, the Summer School in Cancer Epidemiology, the Association of Nordic Cancer Registries along with many smaller projects.

The NCUhas also initiated and funded projects considered relevant. One such example is the analyses of the cost of cancer in the Nordic countries, a SINTEF study (press release here)."The rising costs of cancer treatment raise important questions concerning how to address future challenges; including the question of sustainable growth, efficient use of available resources, advances in cancer prevention and treatment, and the impact of financial mechanisms. The cross-country comparisons among Nordic countries point to some interesting differences and areas where potential gains can be made." SINTEF, May 2011.



Strategic project: Nordic Research on Cancer Pathways


A multidisciplinary research network has been set up with support from Nordic Cancer Union and Confederation of Regional Cancer Centres in Sweden. The aim is to inspire to and conduct multidisciplinary and cross-country comparative research of the function, impacts and effectiveness of the standardized cancer pathways that have been developed in Denmark, Norway and Sweden and soon in Finland as well. Examples of research could be: 

  • What characterizes patients undergoing/not undergoing the pathways and does it impact on patient reported experiences and outcomes? 
  • How did the implementation of standardized cancer pathways differ across countries?
  • How to learn more about alarm symptoms and early detection of cancer?


NCU believe it is possible to learn from each other better via comparative research. The group shall support and coordinate Nordic research projects, set up a home page and meet regularly in the total group and specific groups. Contact persons,



Strategic project: Cost and outcomes of cancer in the Nordic countries


The aim of the study is to provide insight into cancer costs and drivers which affect the costs in the Nordic countries and combine them with currently available outcome measures (NORDCAN). To do so clearly defined harmonized cost indicators across the Nordic countries are needed. As a secondary objective of the project, uniform and comparable data specifications developed between the countries, will enable easier updating of the comparisons in the future. The study will also map the Nordic situation on patient-relevant outcome measures (PROM) in each country and relate these to both health economy and outcomes of cancer care. The study will identify key development issues in the data which is collected and the contents of national registries, especially regarding outcome measures.

Contact Sakari Karjalainen, secretary general, Cancer Society of Finland



Strategic project: Nordic Summer School in Cancer Epidemiology


With NCU support the ANCR have hosted a summer school every second year since 1991, aimed at students in epidemiology (Medicine, Statistics, Biology, Nursing, Public health etc.). Gradually the course has been opened for PhD students and newcomers to epidemiological and clinical research. The course has been instrumental in attracting new researchers to cancer statistics and epidemiology where the Nordic Countries and the NCU can contribute importantly to global cancer control.


The aim of the course is to increase research competence and the utilisation of population-based databases in cancer (cancer registries etc.) for new knowledge, benchmarking and follow-up and thus policy development and evidence base for cancer societies. 


The collaboration between the Nordic Cancer Registries and the NCU on training is unique as a tool to recruit and stimulate the next generations to cancer research, to enhance and support the networking within the Nordic countries in cancer research and epidemiology. The most prominent area where Nordic countries can contribute as no one else is in the field of population-based research due to the wealth of registries. The Summer School not only stimulates future use but also presents the use of registries - and secures that information from a 25 million population - is used to improve cancer care and prevention - not only for Nordic people but also world wide by producing solid unambiguous results compared to many other settings.


Nordic Summer School in Cancer Epidemiology 2019 - 2020


During 2 weeks of intensive basic training the course introduces theories of research and cancer epidemiology, population based as well as clinical, and provides a network between students and competent researchers and peers in the field.  Each student is provided a tutor from a cancer registry research group and a research project to complete during the 2 month’ practical work period. Half a year after the theoretical part students and tutors meet to present and discuss results. Hence, the course is comprehensive from idea, theory, and practical to reporting and peer review. 

Many previous students are now active in research - most in public health, registries and clinics but also laboratory research has received researchers with good skills in epidemiology, strengthening translational research. Impact of this activity is long term for students, but also short-term benefits for the institutes having projects carried out during the 1 course period.  The course is unique in its set-up mixing theory and work on real data of which most end up in peer reviewed publications.

Any development in cancer prevention, treatment and care requires competent researchers. Competence and availability of researchers in the cancer field requires investments with targeted training specific to cancer. The Nordic Summer School in cancer epidemiology is such an investment and has been rated very important by the Cancer Societies’ advisory research committee. The need to attract the best brains to cancer research and population based cancer research in order to meet the goal of reducing the burden of cancer and cancer deaths in the future is obvious. The course includes education on the unique possibilities related to effective use of all Nordic register-based data. This type of education is not available in any of the international courses of epidemiology, neither in the handbooks, nor in university settings.


Contact Klaus Kaae Andersen, Head of statistics, Statistics and pharmaco epidemiology , Danish Cancer Society Research Center,