Cancer Reporting in St. John Parish findings released
Published 10:26 am Monday, March 1, 2021
New Orleans, LA – A project to verify the completeness of cancer incidence data in St. John the Baptist Parish found no reportable cancers that were not part of Louisiana Tumor Registry data. The findings are published in Cancer Reporting in St. John Parish, available here.
In cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Health, LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health conducted the Cancer Reporting in St. John Parish (CRISP) project between January 2020 and January 2021. The purpose of the project was to address concerns regarding cancer occurrences associated with proximity to the Denka Performance Elastomer facility, formerly DuPont facility, in St. John the Baptist Parish. All the residents in the 2.5-kilometer radius around the Denka Facility were approached to participate in the survey. The aim of the project was to identify at least 10% of all cancer cases diagnosed between 2009 and 2018 in the survey area and link resident-reported cancer cases to records in the LTR database. In addition to cancer cases, the residents were able to report any health conditions and/or community concerns about living near the Denka facility. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, door-to-door surveying had to be suspended and surveys were conducted by phone interviewing. A multipronged approach was used to contact residents in the survey area, which included purchasing a phone registry, mailing out flyers to residences in the survey area, and contacting businesses and community organizations around the Denka facility. For the time period of 2009-2018, 50 reportable cancers were identified and verified in the LTR database.
“All of the reportable cancer cases that were identified had already been accounted for by the Louisiana Tumor Registry,” notes Dr. Edward Trapido, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. “In addition to cancer information collected, many residents voiced concerns about other issues related to plant emissions including the relationship to other health conditions, and the effect on children’s health in the area.”
The Louisiana Tumor Registry is a program of LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health and one of only 19 population-based cancer registries in the country comprising the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. The SEER Program is the main program that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) uses to support cancer surveillance activities. It is an authoritative source of information on cancer incidence and survival in the United States.
Population-based cancer registries record all reportable cases in a defined population. Cancer data collection begins by identifying people with cancer who have been diagnosed or received cancer care in hospitals, outpatient clinics, radiology departments, doctors’ offices, laboratories, surgical centers, or from other providers who diagnose or treat cancer patients. All 50 states have laws requiring new diagnoses of reportable cancers to be sent to a central registry. Cancer registries then pull information from the medical records that document cancer for those cases. Medical records distinguish between confirmed cancer cases and anecdotal reports.
“A medical diagnosis is necessary to confirm that an illness is actually cancer,” adds Dr. Trapido. “While some people may suspect cancer, it could be something else. The Louisiana Tumor Registry links its data with death certificate data every year. Regardless of whether the death certificates list the cancers as the underlying cause of death or secondary causes of death, LTR counts them.”
Population-based cancer registries are designed to determine cancer patterns among various populations or sub-populations, monitor cancer trends over time, guide planning and evaluation of cancer control efforts, help prioritize health resource allocations, and their data are used by other scientists to advance clinical, epidemiological, and health services research. Cancer surveillance programs such as the SEER Program use cancer statistics collected by population-based registries to monitor the distribution of cancer cases by sex, race/ethnicity, age, and other demographic factors.
“While we understand and empathize with the concerns of community residents in St. John, the Louisiana Tumor Registry is not the right entity to answer their questions,” adds Dr. Trapido. “The LTR is an exceptional resource for learning about types of cancer, their frequency, the rates at which they occur, the distribution of cases, information on cancer stage and pathology, cancer treatment, and cancer survival, but it does not contain information on what may have caused the cancers. The registry does not collect data on possible contributing factors or environmental conditions to which persons with cancer may have been exposed. That is the purview of other entities and scientists. Therefore, the CRISP review and confirmation of cancers in St John Parish can neither confirm nor refute any links between exposures to chemicals and cancer occurrence.”
LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry is considered to be one of the leading cancer registries in the nation. It was one of nine NCI-SEER registries awarded 1st Place for data quality last year. That was the 11th consecutive year that the Louisiana Tumor Registry was recognized for the high quality, completeness and timeliness of its data.
LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry also earned Gold Certification again last year by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). This designation recognizes registries that have achieved the highest NAACCR standard for complete, accurate, and timely data to calculate standard incidence statistics for the year reviewed. LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry has earned this designation every year since 1997.
LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry was also given the Registry of Distinction Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries this year.
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana’s health care professionals. The state’s flagship health sciences university, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with branch campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state’s only School of Dentistry, Louisiana’s only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO, orhttp://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC.