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More and more people are seeking cancer treatment in Finland

3.2.2023 Categories: Press releases
Feb 3, 2023 | World Cancer Day takes place on February 4. Docrates Cancer Center treated international patients from more than 40 countries in 2022.

World Cancer Day takes place on February 4. According to the statistics of the Association of the Nordic Cancer Registries (NORDCAN), one in five people worldwide will develop cancer at some point in their lives, and about one in three in Finland. There are differences between men and women in terms of the onset of the disease. In 2016–2020, an average of almost 35,000 people were diagnosed with cancer every year in Finland: 16,700 women and 18,100 men. During the same period, more than 60,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed annually in Sweden, nearly 35,000 in Norway, like Finland, and nearly 44,000 in Denmark, with a uniform gender distribution in all the Nordic countries. International patients from more than 40 countries visited Docrates Cancer Center in 2022.

Nearly 300 cancer patients from the Nordics underwent treatment at Docrates in 2022. Foreign patients have been treated at Docrates for more than ten years. Docrates has treated almost 2,500 foreign patients from more than 60 countries since 2019.

– International patients visiting Docrates seek the latest cancer treatment methods and diagnostics that are not yet available in their home countries. In some cases, the queues for treatment are so long that it is necessary to seek treatment elsewhere. In Finland, the cost level of cancer treatments is also very competitive when compared to Europe or the United States, says Juha Kononen, Chief Clinical Director at Docrates Cancer Center.

– Patients’ freedom to choose the place of treatment has grown; for example, in line with the EU Patient Directive. Finland is increasingly popular because the diagnostics and targeted treatment methods here have been proven to be of very high quality. According to the CONCORD-3 study, which measures the five-year survival rates of various cancers worldwide, Finland is the third best country in Europe for the treatment of prostate and breast cancer, as well as adult brain cancers, Kononen continues.

Revenue from international patients in Finland already close to EUR 10 million

Docrates’ international patients typically require prostate or breast cancer treatment and arrive from countries such as Sweden, Norway, the Baltic countries, England, the United States, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and France.

– Finland’s strength as a health tourism destination is the high quality of health services and that cancer treatments, in particular, are increasingly individualised. Collaboration between cancer researchers and doctors is the foundation for evidence-based, multidisciplinary and more individual treatment. Revenue from patients arriving from abroad for treatment or rehabilitation is close to EUR 10 million per year. There is potential for much more. Together with health service providers, we want to build health tourism into a new success story for Finland’s service exports, says Maarit Haavisto-Koskinen, Executive Director of the Medical Tourism Association Finland.

– At Docrates, our experts have strong international work experience in working with different cultures. Their backgrounds help them to meet patients who sometimes come from very different cultures around the world. It is easier for patients to visit Docrates when they can discuss their matters in their native language. We can serve our patients in several languages. It is also important to us that all of our experts have a good command of the Finnish language. We want to serve our Finnish and international patients with the same high quality and individuality. For us, every patient is equally important, says Heli Littunen, Director of Services at Docrates Cancer Center.

The customer feedback of Docrates’ international patients emphasises the hospital’s attractiveness as well as its active, service-oriented and unique individual treatment experience. The hospital employs experts in cancer treatment, diagnostics and health and rehabilitation services.

The CONCORD-3 study includes data from 37.5 million patients diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2014. The study involves 71 countries and territories. (CONCORD-3: Global surveillance of trends in cancer survival 2000–14. Lancet 2018; 391: 1023–75)

For more information, please contact:
Heli Littunen, Director of Services, Docrates Cancer Center
tel. +358 (0)50 500 1886, heli.littunen(at)

Maarit Haavisto-Koskinen, Executive Director, Medical Tourism Association Finland
tel. +358 (0)40 669 11 48, maarit.haavisto-koskinen(at)

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