Novel Finnish cancer research takes a comprehensive look at the implications of cancer treatment

In Finland, approximately 30,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually, and the costs of cancer treatments have increased over the last ten years. Meanwhile, data on the effects of different types of cancer treatments on the everyday life of patients is rather limited, and therefore the entry of oral medicinal products onto the Finnish market is slow compared to Europe in general. In order to support a more efficient entry of medicines onto the market, we need information about the total costs of cancer treatment, immaterial costs - such as the patients’ suffering, pain and depression - and about the effectiveness of the treatment.

A new scientific cancer research, initiated as a joint project of the National Institute for Health and Welfare and Farenta, which is part of the Oriola corporation, takes a comprehensive look at the economic implications of cancer treatment and the effects of medicinal treatments on the everyday lives of patients.  The aim of the study is to enhance the implementation of cost-effective cancer treatments.

“In the future, it will be crucial in the treatment of cancer patients that new, more effective medicines become available on the market sooner and that they can be individually combined with existing treatments, in the hope of ever-improving treatment results. Our cancer research will bring new, long-awaited study data on this, including the patient perspective”, says the team lead of Real-world Evidence Research Heli Salminen-Mankonen from Farenta.

Combines data in a new way

The novel cancer study covers approximately 2,000 over 18-year old Finnish patients who have been diagnosed with some form of cancer. The study will combine data from national registers with patient-reported data.

“We will be using patient data in this cancer study in an entirely new way, and our work is now pioneering in this field in Finland.  The joint expertise of the National Institute for Health and Welfare and Farenta also enables us to handle delicate information according to the needs of modern research and individual data protection”, says Arto Vuori from the Information Resources Services of the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Clearer picture of the overall economic implications of cancer

Treatment of cancer has significant economic implications for patients and their families, and for society. On a national level, cancer-related costs have increased steadily over the last decades. As the population ages, these costs  may increase faster than the total medicinal expenditure; even if the prevalence of cancer was to remain unchanged or slightly decrease, the number of patients in need of treatment will increase. Furthermore, introduction of more advanced forms of treatment may increase the costs.

“The economic burden of cancer on the health care system has been studied before, but the study that now commences will also include the total effects of disease burden from the perspective of the patients. From a societal standpoint, this can be regarded as significant information when searching for new solutions to the cost pressures within specialised care”, says Salminen-Mankonen.

The cancer study will be initiated step-by-step. The Farenta network of research pharmacies will start collecting real world data on the medicinal treatments of the patients interested in participating in the study already at the turn of the year. Analysis of the complete study material will begin at the end of 2019.

For more information:

Team lead of Real World Evidence Research Heli Salminen-Mankonen, heli.salminen-mankonen@farenta.fi,
+ 358 40 7192945, Farenta

Acting Head of Unit Arto Vuori, Information Resource Services of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 29 524 7035, firstname.lastname@thl.fi

Group Communications Director Tuula Lehto, Oriola, tuula.lehto@oriola.com, + 358 40 588 5343