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Guest Editor | National Cancer Registry to produce first report in 2018

Published:Thursday | August 31, 2017 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Director of non-communicable diseases and injuries prevention in the Ministry of Health, Dr Tamu Davidson-Sadler.

Come 2018, Jamaicans should be one step closer to finding out how many persons have been diagnosed with cancer as the National Cancer Registry (NCR) is expected to produce its first report that year.

Director of Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries Prevention in the Ministry of Health Dr Tamu Davidson-Sadler says that they are now collecting data from the four regions in an effort to create a database that will provide information on every type of cancer in Jamaica.

"Since we started the National Cancer Registry, we have established in the four health regions trained staff, developed a procedural manual and training materials, data, and reporting tools," she said.

Davidson-Sadler says that they have also customised the CANREG5. This is a free global database that was developed by the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.


Part of global initiative


The ministry started the process of implementing the NCR in 2013 as part of a global initiative to improve data collection. The initiative is being carried out in collaboration with PAHO and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Registry Hub.

"It takes several years to build a good registry. Based on expert reports, it can take up to five years. Some of our key challenges have been staffing and customisation of the database," Davidson-Sadler said.

She said that CARPHA conducted an exercise in 2016 to assess the process and has pledged to provide further technical support. The process to create the registry involves the collection of demographics, tumour information, and follow-up. This information is then entered into a database.

"The NCR is an essential component of any national comprehensive cancer prevention and control programme. The NCR can provide data that can help with understanding the distribution and determinants and causes of cancer in the population and its impact on the community," Davidson-Sadler said.

"Additionally, the data can assist with evaluating public-health interventions to prevent and control cancer, including using the data for health-care planning and policy development," she said.

The country has been dependent, for the most part, on the Jamaica Cancer Registry to provide data on cancer. The registry was started at the University of the West Indies in 1958 but only provides statistics for Kingston and St Andrew.