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NCU grants to strategic projects

NCU grants to strategic projects regarding “Cost and outcomes of cancer in the Nordic countries” and “Nordic Summer School in Cancer Epidemiology”

NCU Board decided 24. October 2018 to support 2 strategic projects.

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

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,