Unlocking the potential of population‐based cancer registries

August 27, 2019

 

A new article from researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health describes the benefit of population-based cancer registries to advancing cancer research, along with advances in data collection and analysis since the establishment of the first registries via the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Dr. Thomas C. Tucker, professor of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the UK Markey Cancer Center is the first author of "Unlocking the potential of population‐based cancer registries" , published in Cancer . Co-authors are Dr. Eric Durbin, director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR) and assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics at the UK College of Medicine; Dr. Jaclyn McDowell, adjunct faculty in the College of Public Health Department of Epidemiology and cancer epidemiologist at the Kentucky Cancer Registry, and Dr. Bin Huang, associate professor of Biostatistics in the College of Public Health.

 

Population‐based cancer registries – central repositories of information that provide a critical framework for advancing cancer research – have improved dramatically over the last two decades. There have also been important technical and scientific advances that help to unlock the potential of population‐based cancer registries. These advances include improvements in probabilistic record linkage, refinements in natural language processing, the ability to perform genomic sequencing on formalin‐fixed, paraffin‐embedded (FFPE) tissue, and improvements in the ability to identify activity levels of many different signaling molecules in FFPE tissue.

 

In the new publication, the authors describe 1) how central cancer registries can provide a population‐based sample frame leading to studies with strong external validity, how central cancer registries can link with public and private health insurance claims to obtain complete treatment information, 2) how central cancer registries can use informatics techniques to provide population‐based rapid case ascertainment, 3) how central cancer registries can serve as a population‐based virtual tissue repository, and 4) how population‐based cancer registries are essential for guiding the implementation of evidence‐based interventions and measuring changes in the cancer burden after the implementation of these interventions.

 


 

The University of Kentucky College of Public Health is a catalyst of positive change for population health, with a mission to develop health champions, conduct multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborate with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.