Background: Regional cancer distributions provide useful pointers to potential environmental risk factors. Cancerdeath registration data are also basic for checking completeness of population-based registration of cancer incidence.The aim of the present project was to develop population-based cancer mortality registration in various regions inthe North of Viet Nam.
Methods: Cancer data were accessed from the database of population-routine-based deathregistration performed by medical workers at commune health stations based on the guidelines of the Ministry ofHealth. All deaths occurring in the communities were registered and the registration process was monthly reviewedfor each fatal case regarding the name, age, sex, address, occupation, date - place - cause of death, and informationconcerning to pre-death medical care during the study period from 1999 to 2005. The list of deaths and residents ofthe study population were carefully cross-checked with other information sources to avoid under or over registration.The study sites were Red River Delta areas and a high-mountain area. The world population structure was used toestimate age-standardized cancer mortality rates per 100,000 (ASR).
Results: During 4,330,620 person-years estimatedduring 1999 to 2005, 21,108 deaths were registered. The crude death rate from all causes was 487.4 / 100,000. Amongthem, 4,244 cancers in all sites (2,835 in males and 1,409 in females) were registered, giving mortality rates / 100,000of 134.6 and 63.3 (crude), and 155.7 and 54.3 (ASR), for males and females, respectively. The rate for the highmountainarea was only half (45.5) those in the Red River Delta (95.2-117.4). Male to female ratios were ranked from2.2 to 3.1. Cancer accounted for about 20% of all causes of death.
Conclusions: The present findings suggest that inViet Nam, development of reliable population-based cancer mortality registration is feasible and practical.