HomeIcelandic Cancer Registry
Icelandic Cancer Registry Profile Page
Icelandic Cancer Registry

Contact Info

Skógarhlíd 8
P.O. Box 5420
Prof. Laufey Tryggvadottir


Registration area

The Icelandic Cancer Registry (ICR) covers the Republic of Iceland, located in the North Atlantic Ocean with an area of 103 000 km2. About 80% of the country’s 320 000 residents live in the capital city of Reykjavík and the surrounding area. Most of the population is Christian (Protestant) and of northern European descent.

Cancer care facilities

All residents have easy access to the universal health care system. Cancer surgeries are mainly performed at Iceland’s two major hospitals, and specialized cancer treatment is centralized at Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavík. Advanced imaging facilities are available at both major hospitals.

Registry structure and methods

The ICR was established in 1954 by the Icelandic Cancer Society (ICS) and was legally mandated in 2007 under a new Directorate of Health Act. The ICS runs the registry under contract with the Directorate of Health, but half of the registry’s funding comes from the Ministry of Welfare. Registration is mandatory, and informed consent is not required. The core registry staff consists of a medical director, a managing director, two registrars, a data manager, a computer technician, and a statistician. There are also several student and part-time researcher positions. Iceland’s four pathology laboratories are the ICR’s primary data sources, from which the registry receives reports of all cases of invasive tumours (C codes) and selected non-invasive tumours (D codes); 95% of cases are microscopically verified. The other data sources are haematology laboratories, hospital departments, health care facilities, private consultants, and death certificates from Statistics Iceland. Further information is requested from sources as needed. Registration is carried out according to European guidelines (Tyczynski et al., 2003), and data are checked using the IARC-CHECK program.

Interpreting the results

A nationwide screening programme was implemented for cervical cancer in 1964 and for breast cancer in 1987.

Use of the data

Cancer incidence, prevalence, and survival data are published annually on the ICR website and as part of the NORDCAN project (Engholm et al., 2010), and every 4 years in a book on cancer in Iceland. The ICR conducts epidemiological research, provides data to other researchers, and provides information for the planning of cancer prevention and treatment strategies.


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