Background: Cancer registry (CR) is one of the main infrastructures for planning and evaluation of National Cancer Control Program (NCCP). A national program for pathology based cancer registry was established in Iran in 1989. Recently, a few provinces updated the program and performed population based cancer registry (PBCR).
Aim: We aimed to develop an assessment tool and evaluate quality of Iranian PBCR according to the international standards.
Methods: We developed a validated questionnaire based on the cancer registry standards, based on the PBCR standards of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). We used this questionnaire and assessed the guideline, annual report, information technology, and organization structure of the national PBCR of Iran. In addition, we studied the knowledge, attitude, and practice of PBCR personnel, at the national, regional and laboratory level. We further, evaluated the quality indicators and coverage of PBCR.
Results: In overall, about 50% of the NACCR standards were not considered in the Iranian PBCR. Knowledge of PBCR personnel was low, particularly in the laboratory and city level. In addition, they did not have adequate performance about their job in the PBCR. Coding was not done in the laboratory level and coverage of reporting was considerably low. We estimated that the percentage of Death Certificate Only (DCO) was more than 20%. We provided 27 recommendations in different sections for improvement of PBCR. The Iranian government has updated the PBCR program according to our recommendation in order to achieve the international standards.
Conclusions: An active and continuous monitoring of the routine practice is needed to improve the quality of PBCR. The development of this questionnaire was useful tool for the assessment of PBRC, and can be used for improvement of cancer registration program in other countries.