Completeness of data on malignant melanoma skin sites and morphology in Croatian National Cancer Registry 2000-2014: an overview of recent progress

Jelena Barbarić, Jan Willem Coebergh, Mario Šekerija


Mortality rates and five-year relative survival for malignant melanomaMM of the skin in Croatia are poor compared with most Europeancountries. Epidemiological data recorded at the National Cancer Registry(CNCR) are used for informing various decision-makers and researchers, aswell as comparisons with other countries. We analyzed CNCR data on MMskin sites and morphology for 2000-2007 and 2008-2014 and comparedthem with European 2000-2007 data. We further stratified skin site analysesin Croatia by sex, different age groups, and sources of reports. We found 52%of case with “non-specified sites” in Croatia in 2000-2007; however, that ratiodecreased to 36% in 2008-2014, with 29% of registered MM cases occurringon the trunk, 22% on the limbs, and 13% on the head and neck. The ratio of“non-specified sites” cases in reports originating from university hospitalsdecreased by 25% and by 9.2% in those from general hospitals. The ratioof “not otherwise specified” among histologically verified cases decreasedfrom 96% in 2000-2007 to 84% in 2008-2014. Our results reveal a substantialratio of inadequately reported cases, in particular when compared to data atthe European level, where in 2000-2007 only 7.7% of cases were from “nonspecifiedsites” and 19% were of non-specified morphology. Irrespective ofrecent progress, the proportion of unspecified cases still hampers insight into sitedistribution by subgroups. A further increase in the overall completeness ofMM data within CNCR is needed to enable research-informed improvementof melanoma control in the country. Our findings call for engagement ofall stakeholders in optimization of the national melanoma registration processesand using models such as RegisTree to facilitate these initiatives.


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