The National Cancer Centre promotes equal care, research and development

The purpose of founding a national cancer centre is to improve cancer care and promote research.

Modes of therapy are changing fast. National coordination is necessary for safeguarding equal access to services and for improving the effectiveness of cancer treatments. It can also help in curbing cost increases in cancer treatment by focusing on the prevention of cancers, development of screenings, rehabilitation and controlled adoption of expensive treatments.

One objective of cancer research is to develop personalised and effective cancer treatment, especially the utilisation of genomic data in diagnostics and in selecting the treatment, and to promote equal and immediate access to clinical examinations for patients.

A new kind of operating model will be taken into use for the National Cancer Centre. With this model, clinical cancer research and the use of service resources in cancer treatment will be coordinated more effectively at the national level.

Under the decree on concentrating specialised medical care, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa is responsible for the planning of cancer prevention, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation at the national level, and for coordinating the related activities. In practice, the hospital district is also responsible for the research basis of the activities. At the regional level, the responsibilities fall on each regional cancer centre.

Preparations for the National Cancer Centre

The agreement on establishing the National Cancer Centre and its coordinating unit was signed on 22 October 2019.

The National Cancer Centre will function as a centre of expertise for the cancer sector. Its establishment is part of the implementation of the Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation.

On 31 December 2019, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health opened a call for discretionary government grant applications regarding the establishment of a coordinating unit for the National Cancer Centre and support for the launching of regional cancer centres.

Working groups within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have been laying the groundwork for the Centre since 2012. The operation of the National Cancer Centre will begin with the establishment of the national unit to coordinate the activities. The National Cancer Centre will consist of five regional cancer centres and the coordinating unit. These regional centres were set up by the universities offering medical education together with the 20 hospital districts.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has earlier granted discretionary government transfers to each of the five university hospital districts for the costs incurred in the planning and launch of their regional cancer centres and in the implementation of related pilot projects.

Senior Specialist Tuula Helander and a working group are responsible for the planning of the operations and activities of the National Cancer Centre.