Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Dean and Cancer Recording Project Coordinator Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora made statements about the activities carried out within the scope of Cancer Registry activities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Prof. Dr. Gökçora’s statement reads as follows:
“Cancer is a public health problem in the current day. It is one of the two most common causes of death in the world. As well as affecting patients and their relatives, it also has significant effects on the country's economy, loss of workforce and social psychology. In the fight against this disease, accessing complete and accurate data on the course of the disease in the country is indispensable for developing disease prevention and control policies. The way to reach these data is through cancer registry and creating cancer statistics about the country. In this way, the most accurate results are obtained regarding in which regions, in which age groups and genders different cancer types are seen in the society and which cancer type is diagnosed at which stage.
Cancer registry, which has certain rules of its own, is not a simple method of recording data, but involves collecting, recording and comparing data in the same discipline and creating a common language in the world. Although the first cancer registry activities in our country started in 2003 as hospital-based, continuous community-based recording commenced in 2016 and is still used actively.
Within the scope of cancer registration activities started in 2015 with the cooperation of the TRNC Ministry of Health and EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine, 5-year cancer statistics covering the cancer data of 2012-2016 were shared with the public during the 2019 Cancer Week. Community-based recording activities still continue. However, as in many areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been partial disruptions in our registry unit. The office, where our cancer registration procedures are carried out, has been offered for the use of the contact tracking team during the pandemic process. Recently, a new physical layout has been created and information on cancer cases, which has been prepared in folders during this process, has been rapidly processed into the central computer. The Northern Cyprus Cancer Registry Center has been recording in international standards determined by the International Cancer Research Agency (IARC) since the first day it started its activities, and after the quality control of the processed data, the statistical results are presented and interpreted. It aims to share cancer statistics for 2017 and 2018 with the public at the end of May 2021.
Finally, registration of the data is of great importance for the creation of an effective screening plan and cancer control plan in the fight against cancer. This is the path to be followed in terms of correct use of country resources, protection of public health and early diagnosis.
With the "Cancer Disease Notification Law" adopted by the TRNC Assembly on 22 October 2018, the notification of cancer has become mandatory and this legal regulation has been a step to accelerate cancer registration. In this context, all doctors and healthcare institutions serving in the TRNC should report cancer cases diagnosed or treated in their own clinics or units to the TRNC Ministry of Health. This notification can be made by filling out the Cancer Disease Notification Form, which can be accessed from the web page. At the beginning of each year, they are required to collect the cancer data of the previous year and deliver them to the Cancer Registration Unit affiliated to the Ministry of Health Primary Health Services Department or to the cancer registration staff of the Ministry who will contact them. Thus, cancer statistics regarding our country will be obtained continuously and more effective control and prevention studies will be in place.
I would like to thank TRNC Ministry of Health, Primary Healthcare Department Chief Doctor Dr. Figen Gülen İnce, Cancer Registration Unit Supervisor Dr. Minel Özen, Cancer Registration Unit Personnel Mine Kaplan, EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty academic staff and project manager Assist. Prof. Dr. N. İlke Akçay and Dr. Özge Cumaoğulları Eker and also to everyone who contributed to the collection of data, especially all oncologists and pathology laboratory staff contributing to the realization of the project.”