Cancer screening and treatment
According to the latest CONCORD-3 study, the 5-year survival rate for most cancers in Finland is among the highest in the world. In terms of 5-year survival rate, Finland is the third best country in Europe in treating prostate, breast and adult’s brain cancer. For example, 93.2 % of patients with prostate cancer live five years after the diagnosis. Cancer mortality in Finland is the second lowest in Europe after Cyprus according to OECD. Two out of three cancer patients are cured, and many more are able to lead a good life regardless of the disease. Recently, more and more cancer patients from other countries have started to seek treatment in Finland. The value for money in Finnish healthcare is relatively high.
Topnotch healthcare system and personnel
The Finnish healthcare system is very efficient and homogenic, and its professionals are highly educated. Oncologists are trained in both oncology and radiotherapy, which enables them to refer patients more accurately to the right treatment.
The collaboration between cancer researchers and doctors creates a foundation for evidence-based, multidisciplinary and increasingly individualized care. Finland also has a long tradition of collecting samples in biobanks, which makes genetic information readily accessible. These samples can be linked to comprehensive digital databases of donor health data, which benefits cancer research enormously. Biobank samples can be used, for instance, to examine the molecular features of cancer cells in order to find out, which treatment works best for different types of cancer.
The nationwide registration of cancers in Finland began in 1953. Since 1961, it has been compulsory to send notifications of cancer cases. The Finnish Cancer Registry has been a forerunner in conducting major screening studies in the world. Cancer screening is a systematic search for the precursors or early stages of cancer in the population. The goal is to reduce deaths due to cancer among those screened.
Finland’s most common forms of cancer treatment
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of female cancer death after lung cancer. In recent years, due to the early detection and improvement of treatment quality, the mortality rate of breast cancer has been significantly reduced. The 5-year breast cancer survival rate in Finland is 88,5%. Breast cancer treatment includes diagnostic imaging (MRI, ultrasound, etc.), surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is one of the second most common cancers among men. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. Due to improved treatment and early detection, the 5-year survival rate of this cancer in Finland is 93,2%. Finnish experts use the latest medical technology and their accumulated expertise to provide reliable and effective treatment. Treatment items include diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy or HDR brachytherapy.
Brain tumors originate in brain tissue or the surrounding intracranial or spinal structures. It is also possible for other cancers (e.g. lung, breast, skin and bowel cancers) to metastasise to the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography is used to find the tumor. These examinations will show the size and location of the tumor. Determining the quality of the tumor always demands a tissue sample. It is taken either in conjunction with surgery or by taking a biopsy, which will then be examined by a pathologist. Further treatments are determined based on the tumor’s typing, malignancy, location and its speed and way of growth. The treatment methods include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In Finland, all intracranial neurosurgical operations, including brain tumor surgeries, are performed exclusively in the 5 university hospitals (see Helsinki University hospital HYKSin and Kuopio University Hospital FinnHealth.
According to a nationwide study between 2000 and 2013 in Finland, the survival rate of glioblastoma, which is the most prevalent type of newly diagnosed primary malignant brain tumor in adults, has improved especially in younger patients. Patients diagnosed in 2007–2013 had a 24% lower relative excess risk (RER) of death compared to patients diagnosed in 2000–2006. The RER of death decreased more in patients 70 years or younger (26%) compared to patients older than 70 years (18%).
The overall 5-year survival rate of brain cancer for adults in Finland including all brain cancer types is 37,6% which is the third highest in Europe.
Gynecological cancers originate from reproductive organs such as the vulva, uterus, cervix, endometrium, fallopian tubes or ovaries. As with other cancers, early diagnosis of gynecological cancers is also important for prognosis. Gynecological cancers are usually treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination thereof. Finland has experienced experts and the latest professional technology in the treatment of gynecological cancers, and is one of the countries with the highest treatment quality.
Lung cancer is one of the most serious malignancies that threaten people’s health and life. The main types of lung cancer are divided into two types: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. According to the condition of each case of lung cancer, several possible treatments can be used in combination. For example, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other targeted drug treatments. Finland provides the highest quality treatment for lung cancer patients and can effectively treat the disease. Local lung cancer can be treated by surgery. Chemotherapy can stop the progression of the disease, improve the patient’s quality of life, and prolong survival.
Colorectal cancer is a popular name for colon and rectal cancer. They are the second most common type of cancer in Europe, with a five-year survival rate of more than 60%. The cure rate for colorectal cancer is expected to increase as screening increases and treatment improves. In Finland, patients are thoroughly cared for through comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and regular review. Highly valued experts and teams can provide effective care and first-rate medications.