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Br J Cancer. 1994 Nov;70(5):954-9.

How accurate are Scottish cancer registration data?

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Scottish Cancer Intelligence Unit, Information & Statistics Division of the Common Services Agency for the National Health Service in Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.


In order to assess the accuracy of Scottish cancer registration data, a random sample of 2,200 registrations, attributed to the year 1990, was generated. Relevant medical records were available for review in 2,021 (92%) cases. Registration details were reabstracted from available records and compared with data in the registry. Discrepancies in identifying items of data (surname, forename, sex and date of birth) were found in 3.5% of cases. Most were trivial and would not disturb record linkage. Discrepancy rates of 7.1% in post code of residence at the time of diagnosis (excluding differences arising through boundary changes), 11.0% in anniversary date (excluding differences of 6 weeks or less), 7.7% in histological verification status, 5.4% in ICD-9 site codes (the first three digits) and 14.5% in ICD-O morphology codes (excluding 'inferred' morphology codes) were recorded. Overall, serious discrepancies were judged to have occurred in 2.8% of cases. In many respects, therefore, Scottish cancer registration data show a high level of accuracy that compares favourably to the reported accuracy of the few other cancer registries undertaking such analyses.

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