Cancer profile in an urban hospital of the Eastern Cape Province
The availability of information on profile and trends of cancer in South African populations is important for the development of appropriate cancer control strategies, as well as monitoring the efficacy of the existing cancer control programmes. Yet, generally there is a scarcity of systematically analysed reports on hospital cancer cases in South Africa, even for urban hospitals. The aim of this study was to describe the cancer profile of patients diagnosed at Frere Hospital‟s Oncology and Radiation Department and estimate the incidence of cancer among Buffalo City (BFC) urban area residents, for the 19-year period 01 January 1991 to 31 December 2009 based on the clinical administrative data system maintained by the department. The study was a descriptive case series study based on a retrospective review of Frere Hospital‟s Oncology and Radiation Department patient records from 1991 to 2009. Permission was obtained to retrieve records of cancer cases for the 19-year period from the database. Data were extracted from the customized administrative system to an excel spread sheet. Variables for each case retrieved included: socio-demographic details; age at diagnosis, sex, race, place of residence and medical aid information, tumor information; site and date of diagnosis. Data cleaning incorporated techniques such as checking of completeness and accuracy of patient information details. Dates were formatted into month-day-year sequence and checked so that the date of birth precedes the date of diagnosis of the patient and the date last seen. Age less than zero and greater than ninety nine was replaced as missing. Geographical areas were coded according to the South African Population Census. Duplicates and cases with missing diagnosis were excluded.