Cancer surveillance is universally defined as the ongoing, timely, and systematic collection and analysis of information on cancer. In order to help prevent cancer, cancer data has to be disseminated to the public on timely basis. Such data will enable both proper surveillance design and evaluation of prevention and control activities.
A key component of cancer surveillance is cancer registration, in which information is systematically collected on incidence, histology, morphology, behavior, topography, stage, type of treatment, mortality, and survival.
Cancer registration in Palestine started in 1996, in which the national registry underwent several rounds of development and refurbishments. However, all development initiatives were considered with no critical or thorough assessment of the cancer registration or surveillance process.
As a result, PNIPH developed a national report with detailed description of the ongoing cancer situation in both West Bank and Gaza. Two assessment workshops with involved stakeholders were conducted in the presence of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Several meetings were also conducted with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to agree on a clear roadmap for cancer registry improvements. Along with the Ministry, PNIPH was able to revise, update, and unify the Cancer Notification Form as well as get a focal point of contact for cancer at each health facility.
Based on the assessment, requirements for improvement were identified, which mainly include the following:
• Appointing directors to have an accountable and visible leadership for the project
• Setting a long-term plan for capacity building of cancer registrars
• Switching to active data collection and follow-up of data resources
• Ensuring an active involvement of stakeholders in an advisory board
• Developing quality-oriented standard operating procedures for the continuum of data flow