Nordic cancer statistics in a modernised version

Now you can compare cancer figures from across the Nordic region in a new, dynamic online tool. – This is a proud moment for us, says Siri Larønningen in the Cancer Registry.

Published 04.02.2020

A new, dynamic version of StatBank NORDCAN is now available. NORDCAN is an online tool that provides access to comparable cancer statistics from all the Nordic countries.

NORDCAN - cancer statistics from the Nordic countries

"Anyone with an interest in Nordic cancer figures can use this tool, and we hope that many will benefit from it – researchers, professionals, journalists and interest organisations. User-friendliness and functionality have been central to the development of the new tool," says Siri Larønningen, Head of Secretariat for NORDCAN.

Larønningen emphasizes in particular the good cooperation between the Association of Nordic Cancer Registries (ANCR), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Nordic Cancer Union (NCU) as an important success criterion.


The front page of the NORDCAN website. Click on the image to go to the statistics tool

A long and good cooperation

The Nordic cancer registries started their cooperation in the early 1950s. The cooperation has borne many fruits, and one of these is NORDCAN.

The online tool was established as a pilot in 2002 and the first full version was launched in 2003.

IARC has had the main responsibility for the development and operation of the tool, and has been very important to the project. The same applies to NCU, which has provided financial support for a number of years.

  "Although many changes and improvements have been made along the way, the framework for the tool has remained the same all along. We have gradually seen that it is becoming more and more difficult to operate the tool and to update with new functionality. In addition, there is inflexible for the needs we see in the future for the Nordic cancer statistics," says Larønningen.

In 2019, IARC and ANCR initiated work on a thorough update of the tool, still with financial support from NCU. The first result is already available on Nordcan's website

A lot of new developments in NORDCAN 2.0

NORDCAN 2.0 is based on the same database of high-quality Nordic cancer statistics. From this database, statistics on incidence and mortality are shown in the web tool in the first version.

"The look of NORDCAN has been refurbished and new tools, such as the D3 JavaScript library, have been used for a better and more dynamic visualisation of data. NORDCAN has simply become a bit "more beautiful". In addition, we see that the development possibilities in this tool are more and more flexible into the old solution. It gives us the opportunity to continue to deliver relevant and up-to-date cancer statistics from the Nordic countries," says Larønningen.

NORDCAN going forward

Although a new version of the NORDCAN web tool has now been released, the working group is not resting on its laurels.

In addition to general error correction and improvement of the tool itself, the rest of the functionality found in the old NORDCAN tool must also be included.

"This includes obtaining analyses for prevalence, survival and projections of cancer incidence," says Larønningen.

There is also a great deal of work in the working group for NORDCAN, where the focus is on harmonisation and aggregation of data in each country, so that only anonymised data is shared across national borders. This is a change from previous practice and a necessary development to comply with GDPR.