Methodological Issues - Factors Influencing Incidence
The surveillance of cancer incidence and factors influencing incidence are a primary goals of NCI's Division
of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. The RRSS mechanism has funded studies to improve cancer incidence
calculations. These studies have covered a range of topics, from improving calculations of group specific incidence
rates to investigating methods to improve timely reporting of cancer cases.
RRSS investigators are conducting studies to:
- examine methods for calculating cancer incidence
rates specific to race and ethnicity;
- investigate methods for collecting data on all non-melanoma
skin cancers in New Mexico;
- determine possible methods for reducing reporting delay and
reporting error in melanoma surveillance;
- examine SEER data to determine its utility to identify HIV-associated
- validate area-based indicators of socioeconomic status in the
cancer registry database.
Registries Funded to Conduct these Studies
Northern California Cancer Center (SF-OAK)
Seattle (Puget Sound)
In studies where income and education are not measured, researchers
often use census tract data as a surrogate. When income and education
as reported by the patient were compared to census tract and block
groups in this registry in a sparsely populated geographic region,
the correlations were quite low (0.3-0.4).
A study of factors involved in delayed melanoma reporting to cancer
registries found that delays were related to physicians who treated
melanoma patients but failed to report them to the registry.
The only feasible method for some registries to obtain data on
non-melanoma skin cancer may be through contact with physician and
pathology departments. The electronic transfer of pathology reports
could not be carried out.
Additional studies to examine use of census data in other registries
are underway. Lessons learned about methods to improve the reporting
of melanoma data have been shared with other registries.