Strategic project: Covid-19 and cancer in the Nordic region

The NCU Board allocated 200.000 euro for a Strategic research project on Covid-19 and cancer in the Nordic region in 2021 – 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Nordic countries. In addition to the direct effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), preliminary data suggest that the pandemic has had an indirect impact on health, including the provision of timely cancer care. Cancer screening programs were temporarily stopped, delayed, or experienced reduced attendance, and cancer patients in general may have experienced delays in diagnostics and treatment. The magnitude of the COVID-19 impact on cancer diagnostics and care in the Nordic countries is currently unknown.

The project aims to estimate these effects.

Among those infected with SARS-CoV-2, evidence is conflicting on whether cancer patients are at higher risk than the general population of developing serious complications as reflected in hospitalizations, respiratory failure and death. Many of the first studies attempting to address these questions were based on case series or hospital-based collection of cases, precluding firm conclusions. Population-based data are needed to further clarify possible associations between cancer and COVID-19 outcomes.

The project aims to provide such data.

The project takes advantage of the Nordic cancer registry collaboration, the five Nordic population-based cancer registries, as well as other Nordic health registry data.

By combining high-quality population-based registry data from the Nordic countries a number of questions relating to COVID-19 and cancer will be adressed. The Nordic countries with a combined population of 27 million inhabitants provide an optimal setting for addressing outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For further information: Giske Ursin, Director and Professor, Cancer Registry of Norway,


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

NCU Board decided 8. May 2019 to support NORDCAN 2019 – 2021.

January 1st 2019, the secretariat of NORDCAN moved from the Danish Cancer Society to the Cancer Registry of Norway. One of the main tasks of the new secretariat the next three years, in addition to facilitating the existing NORDCAN-cooperation, is to lead the project of the upcoming transition, modernization and harmonization of the whole NORDCAN-platform. To secure continuous sharing of data between the Nordic countries, the secretariat and IARC, there is a need to move from a centralized data processing in the secretariat to localized data processing in each Nordic country.

The main tasks of the NORDCAN-group, the IT-group and the secretariat is to make all necessary specifications for both the harmonization and quality assurance of the localized data processing and for a new web platform.

Strategic projects