Cancer in the Faroe Islands from 1960-2019: incidence, mortality, and comparisons with the other Nordic countries

Marnar Fríðheim Kristiansen, Ronja Midjord Mikkelsen, Tordis Kristiansdóttir, Páll Rasmussen, Guðrið Andorsdóttir, Sæunn Ólavsdóttir Hansen, Kári Rubek Nielsen, Bjarni á Steig, Marin Strøm, Maria Skaalum Petersen

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Purpose: In this paper, we present age-standardized cancer incidence and mortality rates in the Faroe Islands. We also compare with the Nordic rates and show incidence rate ratios (IRR) and mortality rate ratios (MRR).

Materials and methods: The Faroese cancer registry (FCR) was established in 1994, with incidence available from 1960 and mortality from 1983. The FCR is a part of the NORDCAN collaboration, where the different Nordic countries all report anonymized cancer data by standardized methods, ensuring comparability. Validation efforts revealed that 13% of cases had not been reported to the FCR from 2006 to 2019, emphasizing the need for continued validation efforts of cancer registries. After validation, we submitted the updated cancer cases to NORDCAN and now present this data, taken directly from the NORDCAN website (2019 data).

Results: We found that the incidence of the summary group all cancers in the Faroe Islands increased from 1960 to 2019, while cancer mortality decreased from 1983 to 2019. Comparisons with Nordic rates showed significantly lower IRRs for cancer in all cancers, bladder and urinary tract, and skin cancer for both sexes, while IRR was lower for breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Contrary, IRR was higher for rectum and kidney cancer in women and esophagus and testicular cancer in men. There was an increased MRR for cancer in female organs, bladder and urinary tract, and kidney cancer in women, and esophagus and pancreas cancer in men. In contrast, malignant hematopoietic diseases and melanoma in women had a lower MRR.

Conclusions: Cancer incidence in the Faroe Islands was lower than in the other Nordic countries. Of particular interest, the incidence of testicular cancer saw a steep increase during the last 20 years, and an investigation into possible causes for this is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalActa oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden)
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022


  • Cancer
  • Cancer registry
  • Nordic
  • Faroe Islands
  • Surveillance


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