Planning and monitoring of healthcare
Information on the number of cancer cases and their characteristics (age, sex, type of cancer,...) allows for the elaboration of statistical models and projections that are very useful for planning, determining the necessary resources and establishing priorities that contribute to better healthcare.
A more detailed knowledge of clinical aspects, such as the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis or treatment received, can reveal differences in the access of patients to health services, based on age, sex, social group or residence area. With this information, corrective measures can be established that guarantee equitable and undifferentiated access to public health.
Knowing the survival of cancer patients residing in the geographic scope of the Registry indirectly contributes to making an assessment of the quality of care and raising questions derived from the comparison of the survival data observed between different countries or even between regions of the same country.
Likewise, the Registries play a very important role in the evaluation of cancer screening programs since, in the early stages, the Cancer Registries can contribute to the management of the Program, providing information on people who have already developed cancer or who have passed away. Throughout the development of the Program, the registries can provide data on interval cancers, changes in the stages in which cases are diagnosed, and provide information on temporal trends in incidence and mortality.
Finally, the Registries can be an important resource for research and teaching.
It can be said, therefore, that the Registries have a basic function, which is to determine the incidence of cancer. However, its potential usefulness is much greater, although, to exploit it, it requires having appropriately trained professionals with sufficient resources.
Comparison of the observed incidence with that of other Cancer Registries reveals the differences in risk that populations from different geographical areas have of developing cancer, and based on this evidence it is possible to formulate etiological hypotheses based on the differences or similarities of the characteristics of the populations, or of the risk factors to which these populations are subjected.
However, the definition of risk groups is not always or only based on geographical differences but also on criteria of sex (for example, laryngeal cancer is almost exclusive to men), age (since some cancers are more frequent in childhood), ethnicity, social group or others.
The temporal trends in the incidence of cancer contribute to establishing a monitoring of the effects of primary prevention (modification of lifestyles, etc ...) and secondary (early detection programs).
In short, the information generated by Cancer Registries can be very useful for disease control in various areas ranging from epidemiological research, primary and secondary prevention, health planning, and patient care.