The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) has lacked a reliable cancer surveillance system for many years. The rate of cancer deaths increased from 2003-2013, overtaking heart disease as the leading cause of death in the Territory. In 1999, territorial law established the VICCR to collect and analyze data on incident cases diagnosed in the Territory. Our understanding of cancer incidence, mortality, and morbidity in the USVI will be vastly improved with the implementation of the VICCR. The information collected by the VICCR is essential for the planning, development, and evaluation of cancer related programs and treatment in the USVI. The information in a cancer registry is gathered through active reporting from health care providers. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, free-standing cancer treatment centers, pathology laboratories, nursing homes, and physicians shall report their cases to the VICCR. All states in the U.S. have similar cancer registries.
What is the purpose of the Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry?
The Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry has several purposes:
To collect the data used to monitor and assess overall cancer incidence and trends in the territory, which in turn may be used by public health professionals for program development and evaluation
To provide information for community assessment of environmental and occupational hazards
To provide data for cancer research and epidemiological studies.
Why is the Department of Health Cancer Registry is called "Central" Cancer Registry?
The word "central" is used because the Department of Health receives all cancer cases diagnosed and/or treated in the Territory. If any other cancer registry is formulated, they must report their cases to our "Central" Cancer Registry.
How information is collected?
The Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry currently collects information from several sources: hospitals in St. Thomas and St. Croix, pathology laboratories (in island & off island), hospice care centers, ambulatory surgery centers, free-standing chemotherapy clinics and, physicians. The Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry also has agreements with other state central cancer registries to obtain information on USVI residents who are diagnosed with or receive treatment for cancer in these states.
What information does the Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry collect?
Two main types of information are collected in the Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry:
Information about the person diagnosed with cancer (e.g., age, sex, race, place of residence and occupation), and
Information on the cancer diagnosed (e.g., type of cancer, date of diagnosis and stage at which the cancer was diagnosed).
When will the official cancer rates for USVI residents will be available?
We anticipate that the first official report will be ready in 2018. This is due to the process of gathering and consolidating information from all sources.
How does the Central Cancer Registry keep the data confidential?
The Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry adheres to strict confidentiality protections. Only aggregate data (data that gives overall numbers, such as the number of people in the territory diagnosed with lung cancer during a time period, or the number of women statewide diagnosed with breast cancer) are published.
Case-specific data are confidential by law and are released only to approve medical and epidemiological researchers after a thorough review of research requests that includes Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Any approved researcher given access to such data is required both by law and by contract with Virgin Islands Central Cancer Registry to keep that information strictly confidential.