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Colorectal cancer registration: the central importance of pathology
  1. M D Manser1,
  2. D F Levine2,
  3. D F H Pheby3,
  4. R W Pitcher4
  1. 1Clinical Audit Department, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Treliske Hospital, Truro TR1 3YL, Cornwall, UK
  2. 2Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, West Cornwall Hospital, St Clare Street, Penzance TR18 2PF, Cornwall, UK
  3. 3Unit of Applied Epidemiology, University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
  4. 4Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Treliske Hospital, Truro TR1 3LJ, Cornwall, UK
  1. Dr Levine dflreens{at}


Background—Changes in cancer care have increased the importance of cancer registries in monitoring trends and outcomes. Registries are increasingly using computerised systems, such as patient administration and histopathology, as data sources. Omissions by registries can cause interpretation errors, but use of multiple data sources can overcome this.

Methods—Registrations of new colorectal cancers in Cornwall were compared with cases identified from primary sources over one year.

Results—Two hundred and thirty cases were identified locally, 93% in documentary records, 89.6% via histopathology, and 81.3% in the clinical data capture module of the patient administration system. Two hundred and forty four cases were known to the regional registry, but after eliminating wrongly assigned and unconfirmed cases only 201 remained. Twenty nine cases identified locally, particularly cases of advanced disease, were unknown to the registry.

Conclusions—District registers based on histopathology augmented from other sources would provide more accurate and less biased information than existing regionally based methods.

  • colorectal cancer
  • cancer registration
  • district registers

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