Cancer costs and outcomes in the Finnish population 2004–2014

Paulus Torkki*, Riikka Leena Leskelä, Miika Linna, Suvi Mäklin, Jukka-Pekka Mecklin, Petri Bono, Vesa Kataja, Sakari Karjalainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The cost of cancer and outcomes of cancer care has been much debated, since cancer represents 3–6% of total healthcare costs. The objective of this study was to analyse the development of the costs and outcomes in Finland between 2004 and 2014. Material and methods: The national cost, episodes and outcomes data were obtained from the national register databases. Two hospitals were used to validate the costs of care. The outcome measures included relative survival rate, mortality, sick leave days per patient and number of new disability pensions. Results: The total cost of cancer in 2014 was 927 million €. The real costs increased by 1.7% per year over the period studied, while the cost per new cancer patient decreased. The relative survival rate was enhanced by 7%, and the number of sick leave days and new disability pensions per cancer patient was reduced. The share occupied by cancer treatment in total healthcare costs decreased slightly from 3.7% to 3.6%, indicating that cancer care has not become more expensive compared to the treatment of other diseases. Conclusions: This is the first survey to analyse the change in actual cancer costs and outcomes in the population-level within a 10-year period. Since cancer care outcomes in Finland have been among the best in Europe, the progress in terms of the costs and the conversions in the cost distributions across categories are significant and valuable sources for international comparisons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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