National Cancer Registry?
is the Irish National Cancer Registry?
Out of every four deaths in Ireland in 1998, one
was due to cancer. With death rates this high, it is clear that we need to combat
the incidence of cancer in every way possible. Having accurate information about
what types of cancer are on the rise, and about which sections of the community
are falling ill with cancer, helps the health service at large to combat the
illness more effectively.
Funded by the Department of Health, the Irish National
Cancer Registry was set up in 1991 and began recording cancer cases all over
Ireland in 1994. It has a staff of twenty-one, seven in its headquarters in
Cork and 14 based in hospitals around the country. Staff collect information
on cancer cases from all hospitals and other health care facilities in their
area. They record this information on laptop computers and send it electronically
to Cork where it is checked and analysed.
The National Cancer Registry keeps a record of
the development of every single tumour that comes to its attention. With tumour
registration officers working in hospitals up and down the country, the Registry
can maintain a record on every medically detected tumour in Ireland. The Registry
publishes a report once a year, though it takes over two years to analyse all
the information for any given year. The report for 1997 has recently been published.
does the Registry do?
The Registry maintains a database of information
on cancer in Ireland, especially in terms of how many cases there are and how
widespread it is among the population. Most developed countries have a cancer
registry. Usually publicly owned, cancer registries are non-profit organisations,
staffed by medical professionals, who
- collect comprehensive information on all new
cases of cancer occurring in a defined population.
- often collect information on cancer deaths in
the same population.
- store this information securely and permanently.
- analyse the information and produces regular
Under Irish statute law, the National Cancer Registry
is expected to identify, collect, classify, record, store and analyse information
relating to the incidence and prevalence of cancer and related tumours in Ireland.
is the information on the Registry used?
Cancer registry information is not of much value
if just stored away, so one of the main functions of the registry is to make
as much use of the data as possible. Among the many uses of the data are:
- research to discover the causes of cancer, by
looking at reasons for difference in risk for different groups
- using information from the registry in education
and information programmes
- examining the effectiveness of screening programme
- identifying groups of people at greater risk
and who should be frequently checked for cancer.
- looking at the effectiveness of different types
- checking if every patient has the same access
- helping doctors assess their own performance.
Cancer patients need not be concerned that information
on their illness is made generally available, because that is not the case.
All personal details are kept out of the Registry's public reports, and it is
only the raw data that researchers are interested in analysing.
It is important for the Registry to record every
cancer case in the country if their information is to be truly reliable. Without
the co-operation of patients, doctors and medical institutions, the Registry
would undoubtedly miss some cases. By keeping the Registry accurately maintained,
we will know if:
- certain cancers are becoming more or less frequent.
- the risk of developing cancer is different for
people living in different areas, or working in different jobs.
- different types of medical care can influence
survival from cancer.
- cancer screening programmes are really working.
can the Registry be contacted?
The Registry's head office is at Elm Court, Boreenmanna
Road, Cork. You can write to them there, or phone them at (021) 318014. Their
fax number is (021) 318016. The Registry email address is:
and a website,
where you can access the Registry' reports for 1994 through to 1997 and find
out more about their work.
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