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State achieves gold standard for
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Designation ensures millions in research money will continue

[JULY 29, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- For the sixth consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Public Health's cancer registry has met the highest standards of data quality and achieved a "gold standard" that ensures Illinois researchers remain eligible for millions of dollars worth of cancer research funds, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced July 22.

"Illinois researchers are contributing to the extraordinary progress being made in the area of cancer research, and this designation will allow that work to continue unabated," Blagojevich said. "My congratulations to the staff at the Illinois State Cancer Registry for their continued excellence in documenting cancer incidence in our state."

The state's designation by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries means that the Department of Public Health, which operates the state's cancer registry, will continue to receive nearly $1.5 million in federal funds for comprehensive cancer control and data collection. In addition, without the gold standard, universities, academic centers, hospitals, nonprofit organizations and other state agencies would have lost the ability to compete for federal grants for statewide cancer research, cancer control and prevention.

"The designation underscores that the state's cancer data is of the highest quality and is a testament to the exemplary efforts of hospitals, physicians and others who provide the information to the state and the department's researchers who ensure its completeness and accuracy," Dr. Whitaker said. "By maintaining the gold standard, Illinois cancer research can go on, and information related to cancer incidence of our citizens will be included as discussions are held to set national policies on cancer research and treatment."


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This year, 60 population-based registries from throughout the nation submitted cancer data for evaluation and 35 received the gold standard. The annual review analyzes the registriesí ability to produce complete, accurate and timely cancer data within 24 months of diagnosis.

Funding for Illinois' cancer registry, which collects about 62,000 newly diagnosed cancer cases a year, was first awarded to the state in 1994 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The North American Association of Central Cancer Registries was chosen by CDC to develop measurable standards to ensure that cancer data is collected in the same format and that the quality of the data is equal throughout the country.

The National Cancer Institute, which coordinates national research programs on cancer causes, prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment, awards cancer research grants only to those who use data from a gold standard registry.

Recent examples of Illinois research projects made possible by the registry's certification include $7.3 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago for a five-year study of the quality of cancer care and disparities and $750,000 to the Department of Public Health for participation in an international comparison of survival for individuals with breast, colorectal or prostate cancer.

[Illinois Department of Public Health
news release]

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