The demographic burden of cancer

The objective of the METCA project is to evaluate the impact of changeable risk factors of the cancer burden in Finland utilizing THL’s extensive population data. The demographic cancer burden refers to both the risk of cancer and mortality caused by cancer in the Finnish population. The aim of the project is to obtain up-to-date information on cancer risk factors in Finland and their future impacts. The research utilizes modern statistical modeling of longitudinal data in the estimation of Population Attributable Fractions (PAF), which also takes into account the impact of mortality. The aim is to provide information on cancer risk factors supporting decision-making in cancer prevention work and to provide people in Finland with evidence-based information on how cancer can be affected by their own lifestyles and choices.

The project started in 2015 with an inventory analysis. Population cohorts have been harmonized in terms of cancer, mortality and risk factor data. Initially, an estimate is being made of the extent to which cancer is caused by lifestyle-related cancer risk factors. Preparation of initial analyses and reporting are currently in process.


Research team: Karri Seppä, Sanna Heikkinen, Tiina Hakanen, Heidi Ryynänen, METCA Study group (list of METCA researchers linked)

Funder: Cancer Society of Finland, Cancer Foundation of Finland

Collaborating institutions: Department of Health and Wellbeing, University of Helsinki / Department of Public Health

Lead researcher:

Janne Pitkäniemi
Director for Statistics
+358 50 372 3335