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Underreporting of Cancer by VA Hospitals

In 2005, the Veteran's Health Administration (VHA) modified its protocol for reporting cancer cases diagnosed in VHA facilities.  As a consequence of this change in protocol, some VHA hospitals have not reported cancer cases to the California Cancer Registry (CCR).  Therefore, rates of new cancer diagnoses (incidence rates) published by the CCR are based upon case counts that are likely to be underestimates of the true counts. This lack of reporting affects the interpretation of cancer statistics; it is not currently possible to determine to what extent any decline in cancer incidence reflects this underreporting of cases versus true progress in the fight against cancer.

Historically, only a very small percentage of cancers in California females have been reported from VHA facilities. Therefore, the CCR believes the lack of reporting from these facilities have little or no impact on the accuracy of female cancer rates. 

Because information on cancer mortality is obtained through a different source, this reporting issue does not have any impact on CCR cancer mortality statistics.