Cancer Incidence and Mortality in New Jersey, 1994 -1998

Registry Overview

This publication is based on incidence data reported to the New Jersey State Cancer Registry (NJSCR) and on death certificates collected and processed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Vital Statistics and Center for Health Statistics. The NJSCR was established by legislation (NJSA 26:2-104 et seq.) as a population-based incidence registry and includes all cancer cases diagnosed among New Jersey residents since October 1, 1978. The NJSCR serves the entire State of New Jersey, with a population of approximately eight million people.

New Jersey regulations (NJAC 8:57-A) require the reporting of all newly diagnosed cancer cases to the Registry within three months of hospital discharge or six months of diagnosis (whichever is sooner). All primary malignant and in situ neoplasms are reportable to the NJSCR, except certain carcinomas of the skin. Additionally, beginning with the 1995 diagnosis year, cancer
in situ of the cervix was no longer reportable based on recommendations by a New Jersey panel of experts and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). Reports are filed by hospitals, diagnosing physicians, dentists and independent clinical laboratories. In addition, reporting agreements are maintained with New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, and Maryland so that we may collect reports of cancer among New Jersey residents diagnosed with cancer in health care facilities outside the state. Legislation in 1996 strengthened the Registry by (1) requiring electronic reporting, (2) requiring abstracting by certified tumor registrars, and (3) establishing penalties for late or incomplete reporting.

The information collected by the NJSCR includes demographic characteristics of the patient, and medical information on each cancer (such as anatomic site, histologic type and summary stage of disease and annual follow-up status (alive/dead). These data, along with the underlying cause of death (if the patient is deceased) are incorporated into the basic data set.

For each year, the age-adjusted incidence rate per 100,000 population is given for 63 categories of cancer sites and for all sites combined. For females, breast cancer in-situ statistics are given but not included in the totals for all sites combined (as is standard practice for publication of cancer rates in the United States). Compared to preliminary data for 1997 published in our last report, 1997 incidence rates in this report for all cancers combined increased by 4.6% for males and 4.2% for females. In viewing the tables of this report, it should also be noted that the annual rates for relatively uncommon cancers tend to fluctuate more from year to year, due to small numbers of cases, particularly in minority populations. The 1998 data presented here should be considered preliminary and rates may increase slightly by the time all data are complete. It should also be noted that minor fluctuations might be seen from previous incidence reports due to ongoing editing and review of the data.

New Jersey cancer mortality rates are derived from death certificates collected by the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. These rates represent the number of deaths occurring among New Jersey residents during the specified time periods with cancer listed as the underlying cause of death. One cannot directly compare incidence and mortality rates for several reasons. The death of an individual with cancer could be from an unrelated cause such as ischemic heart disease or an injury. Some people who have been diagnosed with cancer while living in New Jersey may emigrate from the state at a later date, and, if they die of the disease, their death certificate may not be reported to New Jersey officials. Likewise, people who die of cancer while living in the state may have been diagnosed before moving to New Jersey. Furthermore, people who died during the period 1994-1998 with cancer may have been diagnosed before 1994.


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