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Quality, comparability and methods of analysis of data on childhood cancer in Europe (1978–1997): Report from the Automated Childhood Cancer Information System project

      Abstract

      In collaboration with 62 population-based cancer registries contributing to the Automated Childhood Cancer Information System (ACCIS), we built a database to study incidence and survival of children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. We describe the methods and evaluate the quality and internal comparability of the database, by geographical region, period of registration, type of registry and other characteristics. Data on 88,465 childhood and 15,369 adolescent tumours registered during 1978–1997 were available. Geographical differences in incidence are caused partly by differences in definition of eligible cases. The observed increase in incidence rates cannot be explained by biases due to the selection of datasets for analyses, and only partially by the registration of non-malignant or multiple primary tumours. Part of the observed differences in survival between the regions may be due to variable completeness of follow-up, but most is probably explained by resource availability and organisation of care. Further standardisation of data and collection of additional variables are required so that this study may continue to yield valuable results with reliable interpretation.

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