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With improvement in survival of chronic heart failure (HF), the clinical importance of co-morbidity is increasing. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and risk of cancer and all-cause mortality in a large Danish HF cohort.A total of 9307 outpatients with verified HF without a prior diagnosis of cancer (27% female, mean age 68 years, 89% with LVEF <45%) were included in the study. A diagnosis of any cancer and all-cause mortality was obtained from Danish national registries. Outcome was compared with the general Danish population. Overall and type-specific risk of cancer was analysed in an adjusted Poisson and Cox regression analysis. The 975 diagnoses of cancer in the HF cohort and 330 843 in the background population corresponded to incidence rates per 10 000 patient-years of 188.9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 177.2–200.6] and 63.0 (95% CI 63.0–63.4), respectively. When stratified by age, incidence rates were increased in all age groups in the HF cohort. Risk of any type of cancer was increased, with an incidence rate ratio of 1.24 (95% CI 1.15–1.33, c < 0.0001). Type-specific analysis demonstrated an increased hazard ratio for all major types of cancer except for prostate cancer. All-cause mortality was higher in HF patients with cancer compared with cancer patients from the background population.Patients with HF have an increased risk of cancer, which persists after the first year after the diagnosis of HF, and their prognosis is worse compared with that of cancer patients without HF.