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  • Cancer incidence (Indicator 2)

Cancer incidence (Indicator 2)

The indicator describes the following: cancer incidence, by type of cancer, per 100 000 person years.

The indicator describes the following: cancer incidence, by type of cancer, per 100 000 person years.

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This indicator is part of Target (1): 25 per cent reduction in overall mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.


Figures 1a and b demonstrate the incidence of new cancer cases since we started to systematically record all new cases of cancer in 1953.

  • The incidence rates for most cancer sites have increased since the registration started.
  • The most pronounced upward trends have been for lung cancer among women and skin cancer (melanoma and non-melanoma) in both sexes.
  • Stomach cancer was the commonest cancer in men until early 1960s. Prostate cancer has thereafter been the most common cancer in men and today it accounts for more than 25% of all cancer cases among men.  
  • Among women, breast cancer has been the most common cancer since the registration began in 1953 and today it accounts for more than 20 % of all cancer cases among women.  
  • Stomach cancer is one of the few types of cancer that has seen a clear and dramatic decline. 
  • Cervical cancer incidence rates declined from the beginning of the 1970s to late 1990s, a slight increase has been observed for some few years in the last decade. 
Kreft fig 1a EN 2021.PNG
Figure 1a: New cancer cases per 100 000 person years for selected types of cancer in men in Norway, 1953–2021. Source: Norwegian Cancer Registry .
Kreft fig 1b EN 2021.PNG
Figure 1b: New cancer cases per 100 000 person years for selected types of cancer in women in Norway, 1953–2021. Source: Norwegian Cancer Registry.

Table accompanying the figures

Kreft Tabell 1 EN 2021.PNG
Click on the table to enlarge the image.

Data source: Norwegian Cancer Registry

The data source for this indicator is the Norwegian Cancer Registry. A description and definitions follow below.


The Norwegian Cancer Registry has information on new cancer cases in the population based on the results of tissue sample analyses and information from doctors examining, treating and following up cancer patients. Furthermore, the Norwegian Cancer Registry obtains all C and D codes from the Norwegian Patient Registry and can thus search for missing clinical information for patients who are not registered; the Norwegian Cancer Registry is considered to be almost 100 per cent complete. The Norwegian Cancer Registry publishes its “Cancer in Norway” report every year, which includes complete incidence data on the different types of cancer. In addition, there is NORDCAN, a database of cancer statistics for the Nordic countries, and the global cancer statistics of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Global Cancer Observatory.

The numbers are from the yearly report Cancer in Norway.


Effect measure

Cancer incidence per 100 000 person years; Norway’s population in 2014 (average age distribution during the course of 2014) is used as a weighting for age standardisation. The period of measurement is 1953-2021, both genders and all age groups are included. 

In age standardisation, the number of new cancer cases per 100 000 person years is adjusted (weighted) in relation to a standard population, and expresses the number of new cancer cases such as it would have been if the age composition had been the same as the standard population during all periods. Standardisation is used to enable comparison of rates across populations and time. 

Table: The types of cancer are stated in accordance with the ICD10 diagnosis codes and include the following selected cancer types
C00–96 All sites*
C16       Stomach
C18 Colon
C19–20 Rectum, rectosigmoid
C33–34 Lung, trachea
C43 Melanoma of the skin (moles on the skin)
C44 Skin, non-melanoma
C50 Breast
C53 Cervix uteri
C54 Corpus uteri
C56, C57.0–4,
Ovary etc.** 
C61 Prostate
C62 Testis
C65–68 Urinary tract*** 
C70–72 Central nervous system, including benign tumours**** 
C82–86, C96 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
C91–95 Leukaemia (including D45–47)

* Including the following D-codes: D32–D33, D35.2–D35.4, D42–D43, D44.3–D44.5 and D45–D47. All basal cell carcinomas are excluded.  

** Excluding all borderline tumours, and Including the following cancer types: Malignant peritoneal tumour (C48.2), salpinx (C57.0), ligamentum latum uteri (C57.1), ligamentum rotundum uteri (C57.2), parametrium (C57.3), adnexa uteri, unspecified (C57.4) and epithelial tumours that are presumed to arise from the salpinx, ovaries or peritoneum  

*** Including non-invasive papillary tumours, dysplasia and carcinoma in situ 

**** Including benign tumours with the codes D32–33, D35.2–35.4, D42–43 and D44.3–44.5

National adaptation to global indicators

WHO’s definition of the indicator

Indicator 2. Cancer incidence, by type of cancer, per 100 000 population. 

National adaptation

The Norwegian Cancer Registry reports national data to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO.  WHO uses the WHO Standard Population when presenting the figures. Due to different data processing methods, there may be some divergence between the data presented above and the data presented by WHO.


05.10.2022: Updated with data for 2021

Authors and contacts

Text compiled by the Department of Registration at the Norwegian Cancer Registry and the Department of Chronic Diseases at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.