Monday, November 30, 2020

Regional Cancer Registries Permit Detailed Study of State of Health across Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 28 – In 1996, the Russian government began to require every federal subject to maintain a registry of all those diagnosed with cancer and their fates. That data set is now so large that it allows for the analysis of many aspects of public health that data from Rosstat and other government sources do not.

            Yevgeny Andreyev of the Higher School of Economics and his team of medical specialists used data from these registries in five federal subjects in northwestern Russia to provide one of the most detailed pictures yet of cancer, its causes, its cures, and its impact on various demographic groups.

            The group have presented their findings in “A Demographic Analysis of Cancer and Mortality on the basis of Data from the Cancer Registries of North-West Russia” (in Russian), Demograficheskoye obozreniye 6:2 (2019): 84-103 available online at and summarized at

            The study is important not only for the picture it provides of cancer in this section of Russia but equally as a reminder that at various points since 1991 the Russian government has required the authorities in the federal subjects to maintain data bases that are not always included in central data and thus deserve the attention of researchers.

            The five subjects for which they examined the data included Karelia, Komi, Pskov, Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. The examination of figures from Arkhangelsk was particularly important because that oblast has the highest rate of cancer per 100,000 population in Russia, 566.2 cases per 100,000 compared to 436.3 for Russia as a whole. 

            In these five regions, men were diagnosed with cancer almost twice as frequently as women and died more quickly than did women.  But over the decade they studied, while onsets increased for both men and women so too did cures in both cases.  For both genders, the onset of cancers came at an older age at the end of the decade than it did at the start of that time period.

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