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Using Registry Data to Identify Areas with High Cancer Disparities

Tennessee Cancer Registry

Prior to the 2004 diagnosis year, Tennessee Cancer Registry (TCR) data did not meet the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) publication criteria for data completeness and quality. As a result, TCR data had limited usefulness for planning public health interventions. Since 2004, the TCR has met the USCS publication criteria each year, allowing the Office of Cancer Surveillance (OCS) to use TCR data for planning public health interventions. The TCR is located within the OCS.

Springfield, Tennessee was identified in the summer of 2010 as a population with significant cancer disparities. For example, the age-adjusted lung cancer incidence rate in Springfield was almost double the overall rate for Tennessee and was statistically significantly above the rate for Robertson, the county in which it is located. This large lung cancer burden is even more significant given that Tennessee has one of the highest lung cancer incidence rates in the United States.

Use of registry data for planning public health interventions is proving quite useful. Importantly, collecting data that meets national standards of data completeness and quality allowed the OCS to identify this significant disparity. Reliable statistics also helped the OCS build community collaborations. The OCS collaborates with the Robertson County Health Council, is in the process of building collaborative relationships with the local Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce, and will seek a collaborative relationship with the local hospital, NorthCrest Medical Center. In addition, the OCS has applied to host a CDC Public Health Prevention Service Fellow, who will plan data-driven public health interventions targeted to the Springfield community.

OCS staff envision that using cancer registry data to identify a "cancer burden hot spot," and targeting this "hot spot" for data-driven cancer prevention and control interventions, will reduce the prevalence of smoking in the community and thus its overall chronic disease burden, including lung cancer incidence.

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