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What to do when diagnosed with cancer in Iceland?

Being diagnosed with cancer in a country where you do not speak the language can be an alienating experience, especially if you are far away from your friends, family and support. Unfortunately, information about cancer, treatments and support in English or other languages are difficult to find in Iceland. Here you can find information about the main organizations that support cancer patients in Iceland. We at Kraftur are trying our very best to change this, and are working on translating more educational material and information. 

You are always welcome to contact us at or call us at 866-9600.

Are you a young foreigner that is newly diagnosed with cancer or a relative in Iceland?

You are entitled to a free interpreter service! Patients of foreign origin and those using sign language have the right to have an interpreter present at your doctor’s appointment. This right is guaranteed by the Patient Rights Act no. 74/1997. The hospital staff are responsible for providing an interpreter – at the patients request – from Alþjóðasetur (translation agency) or from Samskiptamiðstöð heyrnarlausra (the communications center for the deaf and hearing impairment). You do not have to pay for this service.


Masz prawo do skorzystania z bezpłatnych usług tłumacza ustnego! Zarówno pacjenci obcego pochodzenia, jak również osoby posługujące się językiem migowym, mają prawo do skorzystania z bezpłatnych usług tłumacza ustnego. Prawo to gwarantowane jest Ustawą o prawach pacjenta nr. 74/1997. Personel szpitala jest odpowiedzialny za zapewnienie tłumacza (na prośbę pacjenta) z biura tłumaczeń Alþjóðasetur lub z Centrum Komunikacji Osób Głuchych i Słabosłyszących.


Kraftur – Power

Kraftur is an organization for young adults, aged 18-40 who have been diagnosed with cancer and their relatives of all ages from 18 years and up. Kraftur means power in Icelandic, and our main goals are to support young people who have been diagnosed with cancer and their relatives by offering peer support, advocacy assistance, education, provide practical information and promoting cooperation between NGOs dealing with cancer, healthcare professionals and others involved with the disease. Kraftur is one of the member associations of the Icelandic Cancer Society. 

Services and support

  • Providing social support to those diagnosed with cancer and their relatives.
  • Protecting the rights and interests of members vis-à-vis public bodies/entities/parties.
  • Maintaining a strong support network where the emphasis is on peer support based on personal experience. 
  • Providing psychological services to members.
  • Maintaining support groups for young women, young men and relatives. 
  • Maintaining an open forum for members to engage in physical and outdoor activity amongst peers. 
  • Providing financial support through our Emergency Fund, our Memorial Fund and grants for the purchase of medicine in collaboration with Apótekarinn Pharmacy.
  • Maintaining educational lectures, books and brochures. 
  • Holding regular events on a peer-to-peer basis in order to create memories together and share experiences. 


We at Kraftur encourage you to contact us at kraftur@kraftur.og or 866-9600 – we will try our best to help you in any way possible. Maybe you just need someone to help you navigate the Icelandic healthcare system, or maybe you want someone to talk to about your experience – we are here for you!

More about Kraftur here.

Call Kraftur at → 866-9600

Contact Kraftur at → 



Ljósið – the Light 

Ljósið is an independent rehabilitation and support center for cancer patients and their families. Ljósið was founded in 2005 by Erna Magnúsdóttir occupational therapist and has been rapidly growing since. Located in a beautiful house with a garden in Reykjavík, the center has been developing its operation and rehabilitation program for the past 9 years. The center’s theoretical background originates from the occupational theory model, Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) and combines knowledge from the many professions that take part in developing our program. Client centered approach is vital in communication with our clients and their needs regulate our service.

Service and support

Ljósið has an interdisciplinary team of professionals within the sector of health and social services, massage therapists, arts and crafts tutors and cosmetologists. All users of the service get an interview with an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist. Depending on individual needs, interviews are also available with: art therapist, psychiatrist, lawyer, physiotherapist, nurse, nutritionist, occupational therapist and a trainer. All users of the service get guidance to set up their own rehabilitation plan based on interest and condition. Providing an eventfull program Ljósið is in many ways a playground to increase strength, endurance, energy and joy. 

More about Ljósið here.

Call Ljósið at → 561-3770

Contact Ljósið 



Ráðgjafarþjónusta Krabbameinsfélagsins – Counselling Services of the Icelandic Cancer Society (ICS)

The Icelandic Cancer Society is an umbrella organization of 34 member associations (24 local associations around the countryside and 10 support groups). The main role of the Icelandic Cancer Society is to be at the forefront of the fight against cancer. The Goal of the Icelandic Cancer Society is supporting and promoting in every respect the fight against cancer by for example increasing public knowledge about these diseases, supporting and conducting research, running and supporting the National Cancer Registry,  supporting progress in the treatment of cancer and care of cancer patients, and securing their interest in every way.

Service and support 

Supporting patients and their significant others is a matter of priority by the ICS. In 2007 a new Counseling Service was started at the ICS, based on the work of consultants that had been in operation for decades. The Counseling Service offers information, education, psycho-social support, and various other services to those that have been diagnosed with cancer, their families and others that are affected by the diagnoses. Nurses, psychologists and two social workers are currently employed, including a social worker that speaks Polish. Counseling via the phone (call center) is growing as individuals can call free of cost and obtain information regarding many disease related issues. The ICS co-owns eight apartments in Reykjavik where patients from the countryside can stay with significant others while being treated. Some local cancer associations have hired staff and opened local service centers. These are located in smaller communities in the countryside and enjoy the support of the ICS as well as the Counseling Service.

More about the Counseling Services here.

Call the Counseling Services at 800-4040 

Contact the Counseling Services at → 




SKB – The Icelandic childhood cancer parent organization 

The Icelandic childhood cancer parent organization supports children with cancer and their families.  Their services to members are diverse and aimed at making life easier for children with cancer and their families. 

Service and support

One of SKB’s goals is to create a platform for children with cancer and their families to connect with other families that find themselves in similar situations, in order to talk about their experiences. This is achieved both through a variety of events as well as the regular meetings of support groups. SKB also owns two apartments in Reykjavík for families of children from rural areas who need to stay in Reykjavík for their children’s medical treatment. Landspítalinn is in charge of the operation of allocating those apartments. If the families of children with cancer do not need them, they are allocated to other rural families who have children at the Children’s Hospital.

More about SKB here.

Call SKB at → 588-7555

Contact SKB at →