Evaluation of the completeness of the Fichier des tumeurs du Québec
Cancer registries are essential tools for monitoring cancer. There are four main components to the quality of this type of registry: completeness, validity of data, timeliness of access to data, and range of data available.
Completeness refers to the ability of a cancer registry to identify and register all new cancer cases diagnosed within a population. Completeness can vary considerably from one place to another, because of variations in resources and data collection methods, or variations in diagnostic examinations. An excellent level of completeness is essential in order to produce accurate statistics and conduct valid studies on cancer in a population. Evaluating the completeness of registration of new cases is therefore a priority activity for all cancer registries.
The completeness of the cancer registry is an especially important concern for Quebec. In Canada's other provinces, several sources are used to supply data to the cancer registries, foremost of which are pathology reports. A single data source is used to supply data to the Fichier des tumeurs du Québec, namely the MedÉcho file, which contains basic information on all day care surgeries and all hospitalizations in acute care hospitals in Quebec. Because the Fichier des tumeurs du Québec does not use pathology reports, it is possible that some cancers confirmed by histology, which account for the vast majority of cancer cases, might not be identified and entered in the registry if the diagnosis and treatment are done entirely without hospitalization or day surgery.
Statistics Canada has decided to set up and fund a project to evaluate the completeness of cancer case reporting in Canada. This project is being carried out in co-operation with four provincial cancer registries, namely those of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Considering the importance of the Fichier des tumeurs du Québec and questions concerning its completeness, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) felt it essential to participate in this project and quantify the completeness of the Fichier des tumeurs du Québec. Since the main concern regarding the Quebec registry has to do with the completeness of the registration of new cancer cases confirmed by histology, the INSPQ has focused more specifically on evaluating the completeness of the registration of this type of case.