Cancer survival in the Faroe Islands over the last 50 years compared to the other Nordic countries

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

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As sustained development in cancer treatment protocols have led to improved survival in most areas of the world, surveillance is needed to ensure that small populations follow suit. Our study reports age-standardized relative cancer survival in the Faroe Islands compared to the other Nordic countries. We present 1- and 5-year survival estimates and corresponding 95% confidence intervals for the Faroe Islands and compare them with estimates for the Nordic countries. The data for this article has been obtained through the NORDCAN collaboration (2019 data). Age-standardized relative survival was estimated using shared R codes on individual-level data within each country. Ten-year calendar inclusion periods were used in addition to the usual 5-year calendar periods to include cancer sites with few cases, which is especially beneficial to the smaller populations. The primary findings were that 1- and 5-year survival were consistently lower in the Faroes for the summary group all sites but non-melanoma skin cancer for both women and men. Further, 5-year survival was lower for women with ovarian cancer and men with lung cancer than in other Nordic countries. Previously, breast cancer survival was low in the Faroes but has improved to a comparable level over the last few years. Colorectal cancer survival was relatively high for both sexes. The reported estimates in this article call for further research to investigate the cancers with lower survival and should call for actions to improve the survival of Faroese cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2090–2098
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2023


  • Faroe Islands
  • Nordic
  • cancer
  • survival


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