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News Published on 7.5.2024, 10:39

First Jarmo Karppi Award to Docent Päivi Lähteenmäki


The Jarmo Karppi Distinguished Cancer Researcher Award has been presented to Päivi Lähteenmäki, a specialist in paediatrics and paediatric haematology. She has made a particular contribution to the research and development of psychosocial support for people with childhood cancer. Lähteenmäki has developed monitoring and treatment of the late effects on young cancer survivors and is a pioneer in the field in Finland.

Vasemmalla dosentti, lastentautien ja lasten hematologian erikoislääkäri Päivi Lähteenmäki, keskellä TYKS-säätiön hallituksen puheenjohtaja Mikko Pietilä ja oikealla TYKS-säätiön toiminnanjohtaja Minna Lukkarinen.

Docent Päivi Lähteenmäki, specialist in paediatrics and paediatric haematology, Mikko Pietilä, Chair of the Board of the TYKS Foundation and Minna Lukkarinen, Executive Director of TYKS Foundation. Photo: Pasi Leino.

Päivi Lähteenmäki's achievements are significant both in research and clinical work. She has been Head of Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology at Tyks since 2008 She is also currently director of the Swedish Childhood Cancer Registry and Childhood Cancer Epidemiology Group at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and of an EU project developing methods to improve the quality of life of young cancer survivors through a digital service pathway.

– Päivi Lähteenmäki is a multi-disciplinary expert and active in both research and societal affairs. She has served in several medical and research organisations including internationally, in particular on the board of NOPHO (The Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology) and in working groups focusing on specific cancer types. The main focus of her research is on the long-term, post-treatment monitoring of children with cancer, says Minna Koskenvuo, Chief Physician and Head of the Paediatric and Adolescent Haematology and Oncology Ward and Outpatient Clinic at Tyks.

In 2023, the TYKS Foundation established the Jarmo Karppi Award, named after its major donor, which is awarded to a distinguished cancer researcher for outstanding cancer research. This is the first time that the foundation's Board has awarded the prize, which is worth €15 000. 

– The Board of TYKS Foundation is proud to present the first Jarmo Karppi Award to Päivi Lähteenmäki, Docent and Head of Department, who has been doing pioneering development work and research at Tyks. The Late Effects Outpatient Clinic for Childhood Cancer, which started at Tyks in 2015 and is being further developed, provides help to previously neglected young adults. In a difficult economic situation, new digital openings can further develop our services, says Mikko Pietilä, Chair of the Board of the TYKS Foundation.

New forms of support under development

In particular, two thirds of people who have had cancer as children in their growing-up years experience a wide range of physical or psychosocial late effects, which often only manifest themselves in adulthood. Cancer survivors have problems with education, employment, fatigue and the ability to cope with life.

– These problems are common worldwide. An international recommendation is that anyone at risk of late effects should be offered lifelong monitoring by a specialist team of health care professionals. This will require resources in an already overburdened health care system; psychosocial support and follow-up care needs are often unmet, and access to services is unequal, not only between countries, but often within countries as well. That is why different forms of support need to be built, such as the EU project e-QuoL, which is developing tools for a digital service pathway. This can give young people more control over their health and wellbeing. At Tyks, the service path is integrated into the KAIKU service, says Päivi Lähteenmäki.


Around 550 children, adolescents and young adults (under 30) are diagnosed with cancer in Finland every year. Currently, 80% of them survive for at least five years, but intensive cancer treatments leave these survivors with late health effects and often reduce their quality of life.

Päivi Lähteenmäki

  • b. 1959 in Loimaa
  • Lic.Med. 1984, M.D. 1999 University of Turku
  • Specialist in Paediatrics 1999, Specialist in Paediatric Haematology 2002 and Docent 2008, University of Turku
  • Specialist in Paediatric Haematology and Oncology at Tyks since 2002 and Head of Department since 2008
  • National and international positions of expertise and trust
  • Has published 132 original publications in international and 14 domestic journals, as well as five chapters for a textbook.
  • Has supervised several doctoral dissertations and acted as opponent, preliminary examiner and assessor in several dissertation- and research projects
  • Oncologist of the Year 2016 (Cancer Society of Finland)
  • Working on an EU project called e-QuoL