Incidence and prevalence of cancer in Colombia: The methodology used matters

Omaira Valencia, Gilberto Lopes, Patricia Sanchez, Lizbeth Acuna, Daniel Uribe, Jaime Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose Incidence and prevalence are important factors in policy making and planning in health care systems. The aim of this study was to compare two different estimates of the incidence and prevalence of cancer in Colombia-real-world data from the health care system and estimates from cancer registries. Materials and Methods Data from all providers were aggregated by the High-Cost Diseases Office (Cuenta de Alto Costo [CAC]). The real-world, age-standardized observed incidence (OI) and observed prevalence (OP)rates were calculated using the number of patients with a diagnosis of cancer who were cared for in the national health system between 2014 and 2015. The registry estimated incidence (EI) and estimated prevalence (EP) were extracted from GLOBOCAN population fact sheets for 2012, which use data from four Colombian city-based registries and extrapolate survival using the average for Asian countries, together with registries from Uganda and Zimbabwe. Results A total of 130,441 patients were analyzed. The OI of cancer in Colombia was 69.2 and the OP was 479 (per 100,000 people) in early 2015, whereas the EI was 175.2 and the 5-year EP was 501.2 (per 100,000 people), showing a higher estimate from GLOBOCAN data for 2012 than was observed in early 2015 by the CAC. Some differences were higher in specific cancers. Conclusion Because of differences in methodology, the EI and the EP are not comparable to the OI and the OP. Policymakers need robust and current information to prioritize disease prevention and control programs. In Colombia, the OI and the OP-calculated by the CAC with data from the whole country-offer an opportunity for a more precise real-world estimation of patients with cancer in Colombia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00008
JournalJournal of Global Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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