Cancer Epidemiology Services

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NJSCR Operations

NJSCR operations

How NJSCR obtains cases
New Jersey regulations require the reporting of all newly diagnosed cancer cases to the NJSCR within six months of diagnosis. Hospitals, physicians, ambulatory care facilities, radiation treatment facilities and private laboratories are required to report cancer cases. Over the years the legislation has been strengthened to: (1) require electronic reporting, (2) require abstracting by certified tumor registrars and (3) impose penalties for late or incomplete cancer reporting. Reporting agreements also are maintained with bordering states. See the Cancer Registry Statute [pdf 266K]

Why collect cancer cases?
The Registry is an important source of information for health care providers, public health officials, and administrators. This information is widely used by clinicians, scientists, and researchers. Data on cancer patterns in the population can be very useful for preventing and controlling cancer and improving treatment and patient care. The data are used to respond to New Jersey residents on cancer issues and concerns. Also, the incidence rates in New Jersey are shared and compared with other states and the nation. The data collected by the NJSCR can be useful for describing cancer patterns in the population, discovering causes of cancer, planning programs for people affected with cancer, and other related research. See our Data, Statistics, & Reports and Research Publications

Early detection programs, such as for cervical, breast, and colon cancers, use these data to plan screening services. Early detection is more likely to improve survival. Health care providers use these data for planning and researchers use these data for studying ways to increase survival and identify risk factors. The Registry also facilitates professional education and public education.

Reportable types of cancer
All primary invasive and in situ neoplasms are reportable to the NJSCR, except cervical cancer in situ diagnosed after 1995 and certain carcinomas of the skin. Benign and borderline intracranial and Central Nervous System tumors are also collected effective with cases diagnosed on and after January 1, 2004. See the Cancer Registry Statute [pdf 266K]

What information is collected by the NJSCR?
The information collected by the NJSCR includes very detailed information about each cancer case. These data profile each patient including demographic and medical information on each cancer diagnosis (such as the anatomic site, histological type, stage of disease and treatment). All patients are followed annually and vital status is recorded. For deceased cases, the underlying cause of death is also included. The primary site, behavior, grade, and histology of each cancer are coded according to the International Classification of Disease for Oncology (ICD-O), 3rd edition. The NJSCR follows the data standards promulgated by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

Data quality and completeness
Quality control is an integral part of the NJSCR. We review and evaluate the quality of our data through edit programs, and re-abstracting studies. We strive to improve data collection activities through targeted training programs. NAACCR has awarded the NJSCR the Gold Standard, the highest standard possible, for the quality of data since the inception of this award several years ago. The criteria used to judge the quality of the data are timeliness, completeness of cancer case ascertainment, completeness of specific information on the cancer cases, percent of death certificate only cases, percent of duplicate cases, in addition to passing the data through a stringent edit program.

Completeness of reporting is estimated by comparing New Jersey and U.S. incidence to mortality ratios for whites, standardized for age, gender, and cancer site. The data used to generate these ratios are the cancer incidence rates for all SEER registries combined. Using these standard formulae, it is possible for the estimation of completeness to be greater than 100%.

Are the cancer data confidential?
All information collected by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services are confidential under law. All reports which are issued, including the reports available on this website, group data together so that no individual can be identified. If there are less than five persons in the same group (such as the same age, sex, year of diagnosis and type of cancer) then the actual number is not revealed.