News Release
   
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   February 15, 2001

Christine Grant
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley
609-984-7160

 
New Jersey Cancer Registry Awarded Contract
To Join National Cancer Surveillance System

TRENTON -- The New Jersey State Cancer Registry is joining the National Cancer Institute's SEER Program - the nation's most authoritative source of cancer data - and may receive up to $3.5 million to participate over the next five years, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant announced today.

New Jersey is one of only four new states chosen by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to join SEER, which stands for Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results. Currently, 11 states and metropolitan areas participate in SEER.

"This is a high honor for New Jersey cancer care researchers and for public health, and it confirms that we have one of the best cancer registries in the country," Commissioner Grant said. "SEER membership will make New Jersey's data even more useful, both to cancer researchers nationwide and to public health officials seeking to better understand cancer in New Jersey."

The national SEER database contains information on cancer incidence and survival for more than 2.5 million cancer cases. Although SEER does not include data from every state, it does include data for populations representative of the nation.

"New Jersey's very diverse population will help enrich the SEER program," Commissioner Grant explained. NCI was particularly interested in achieving greater representation of persons of non-Mexican, Hispanic descent. New Jersey has a large, ethnically diverse Latino population, Grant noted, as well as a large number of African-Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders.

As a SEER participant, New Jersey's Cancer Registry will be able to participate in special studies about the care the state's cancer patients receive, in hopes of further improving survival rates.

To participate in SEER, NCI has awarded New Jersey a $1.8 million contract to run through July 31, 2003. Subsequently, the NCI may exercise an option to continue funding for two more years, bringing the total award to $3.5 million.

Current SEER members are the states of Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, Utah, and the metropolitan areas of San Francisco/Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, San Jose, Los Angeles and Seattle/Puget Sound. The new participants, in addition to New Jersey, are Kentucky, Louisiana and California.

"Over the last 10 years, we have worked hard to improve the quality of the registry's data and the timeliness of reporting," said Betsy Kohler, director of the department's Cancer Epidemiology Services. "We're very pleased to be able to join the SEER program and we look forward to working with our state and federal partners in this field."

Ms. Kohler also noted that the State Cancer Registry has been awarded the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries' "Gold Standard for Quality, Completeness and Timeliness" for three consecutive years.

Since 1979, the New Jersey State Cancer Registry has collected complete data on every case of cancer diagnosed in a New Jersey resident. This includes basic patient demographic data, specific type of cancer, stage of disease at diagnosis, and survival information.

Registry data forms the basis of an ongoing series of reports on cancer in New Jersey. In recent years, the department has published reports on breast cancer in New Jersey, prostate cancer, cancer among Hispanics, and childhood cancer, as well as regular updates on statewide cancer incidence. State Cancer Epidemiology Program staff and other researchers have also used Cancer Registry data in conducting studies, many of which are published in scientific journals.

New Jersey cancer data may be found at www.state.nj.us./health/cancer/statistics.htm.

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