HomeEstonian Cancer Registry
Estonian Cancer Registry Profile Page
Estonian Cancer Registry

Contact Info

National Institute for Health Development
Hiiu 42
Dr. Margit Mägi


Registration area

The Estonian Cancer Registry covers the population of Estonia. In 2005, the mean annual population was 1.3 million; 68% were Estonians and 26% were Russians, and 67% of residents lived in urban areas.

Cancer care facilities

The Estonian health system is based on a mandatory, solidarity-based insurance system that covers 95% of the population. Cancer patients are mostly referred to two specialized hospitals, which provide radiotherapy, surgery, and chemotherapy. Increasingly, some aspects of cancer care are provided by general hospitals and other specialized departments (such as neurosurgery, haematology, and paediatric oncology departments). A National Cancer Control Plan was implemented in 2007.

Registry structure and methods

The registry was founded in 1978, and reliable incidence data are available beginning from 1968. The registry is state-funded, through the Ministry of Social Affairs, and has operated as a subunit of the National Institute for Health Development since 2009. The registry is staffed by four employees: a director, a data analyst, and two coding clerks. Cancer reporting is mandated in Estonia by a decree issued by the Minister of Social Affairs. In 2011, the new Public Health Act came into force and cancer reporting became mandatory by law. The registry receives notifications from treating physicians and pathology and haematology laboratories, and the registry staff members code and input the data. The registry receives death certificate data and performs trace-back procedures for cases first notified by a death certificate. From 2001 to 2011, access to death certificates was denied for legal reasons, but the registry regained access in 2011 when the new legal basis for health registries was adopted. Since 2000, the registry has performed regular linkage with the Estonian Population Register. The quality of the registry’s data has not been formally evaluated, but a study that partially covered the subject was published in 2003.

Interpreting the results

Nationwide organized screening was implemented for breast cancer in 2003 and for cervical cancer in 2006. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing is widely used.

Use of the data

The registry routinely publishes cancer incidence statistics. Registry data have been used for several descriptive and analytical epidemiological studies, including international comparisons.


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