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Registry Perspectives

Report From International Association of Cancer Registries Annual Meeting

The 34th Annual Meeting of the International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR) was held Sept. 16-21 in Cork, Ireland. The 2012 theme of the IACR meeting was Better Cancer Control through Better Information. The National Cancer Registry of Ireland, which was established in 1991 and has been collecting population-based incidence data since 1994, hosted the meeting.

The IACR was founded in 1966. It is a professional society dedicated to fostering the aims and activities of cancer registries worldwide. IACR is a non-governmental organization that has had official relations with the World Health Organization since January 1979.

Registries play an important role in cancer research by collecting data on patterns and trends, thus providing an essential element in the planning and monitoring of cancer control strategies and for identifying priorities in public health. To ensure cancer data are properly recorded and that the statistical data gathered are complete and can be used to make valid comparisons, cancer registries must conform to accepted working practices and standards. To that end, the IACR was created to foster the exchange of information between cancer registries internationally to help improve the quality of data and the comparability between registries.

The IACR Annual Meeting is a three-day scientific conference that focuses on topics related to cancer registration and epidemiology, providing a forum to exchange ideas and present important research findings to an international audience. Past meeting themes have included: poverty and cancer, infection and cancer, and the role of cancer registries in prevention. IACR locates its annual meetings in different continents each year so that members in all parts of world can attend. IACR makes an effort to ensure part of the scientific program reflects the major concerns of the region where the annual meeting is held. In 2009, IACR held its annual conference in conjunction with NCRA's annual educational conference in New Orleans.

Participants at the 2012 IACR conference represented more than 28 countries, including: Argentina Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United States, and Uruguay.

The program was rich in content, showcasing important scientific studies and findings. Keynote addresses included:

  • Cancer Incidence in Five Continents: Entering the Second Half Century presented by Dr. David Forman, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
  • Evolution of Cancer Registration and Cancer Epidemiology from Geographical Pathology to Cancer Control presented by Dr. Hans H. Storm, Danish Cancer Society
  • Registries and Clinical Data Networks: Support Patient Centered Outcomes Research presented by Dr. Joe Selby, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, United States
  • From Cancer Registry to Cancer Patient Registry: Population-based Quality of Life Research Using the Cancer Registry presented by Prof. Lonneke van de Poll-Franse, Eindhoven Cancer Registry, The Netherlands

The sessions were organized in five tracks:

1. registration methods and data quality
2. burden of disease and aetiology
3. quality of care and cancer control
4. patient outcomes
5. methods in survival and linkage.

The program also included three pre-conference workshops on topics that included: Trends and Projections: Age Period Cohort Modeling Using Splines; Geographical Methods in Cancer Epidemiology; and ICD03 and TNM Coding. PowerPoint presentations from the keynotes and various sessions will be available on the IACR Web site soon.

IACR also provided an opportunity for countries and organizations to present research findings through poster presentations. More than 200 groups participated, including NCRA, which presented a poster on its soon-to-be-released study entitled: "Workload and Time Management Survey: Guidelines for Central Cancer Registry Programs." The goal of the workload study was to better understand the relationship between workload and staffing within central registries. Other posters highlighted research findings on issues such as: registration methods, data quality, burden of disease, cancer risk factors, evaluation of cancer care, cancer control, survivorship, determinants of patient outcome, and linkage to other data sources.

The 35th Annual Meeting of the IACR will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct. 21-23, 2013. For more information on the International Association of Cancer Registries and next year's meeting, visit their Web site at

Melanie W. Rogan, CTR, is the immediate past president of the National Cancer Registrars Association and is the director of registry services, Electronic Registry Systems (ERS). Rogan attended IACR 2012 along with Lori Swain, NCRA's executive director.

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