Background: The National Cancer Registry of Mongolia began as a hospital-based registry in the early1960s but then evolved to have a population-wide role. The Registry provides the only cancer data availablefrom Mongolia for international comparison. The descriptive data presented in this report are the first to besubmitted on cancer incidence in Mongolia to a peer-reviewed journal. The purpose was to describe cancerincidence and mortality for all invasive cancers collectively, individual primary sites, and particularly leadingsites, and consider cancer control opportunities.
Methods: This study includes data on new cancer cases registeredin Mongolia in 2003-2007. Incidence and mortality rates were calculated as mean annual numbers per 100,000residents. Age-standardized incidence (ASR) and age-standardized mortality (ASMR) rates were calculatedfrom age-specific rates by weighting directly to the World Population standard.
Results: Between 2003 and2007, 17,271 new cases of invasive cancer were recorded (52.2% in males, 47.7% in females). The five leadingprimary sites in males were liver, stomach, lung, esophagus, and colon/rectum; whereas in females they wereliver, cervix, stomach, esophagus and breast. ASRs were lower in females than males for cancers of the liver at63.0 and 99.1 per 100,000 respectively; cancers of the stomach at 19.1 and 42.1 per 100,000 respectively; andcancers of the lung at 8.3 and 33.2 per 100,000 respectively. Liver cancer was the most common cause of death ineach gender, the ASMR being lower for females than males at 60.6 compared with 94.8 per 100,000. In femalesthe next most common sites of cancer death were the stomach and esophagus, whereas in males, they were thestomach and lung. Discussion: Available data indicate that ASRs of all cancers collectively have increased overthe last 20 years. Rates are highest for liver cancer, at about four times the world average. The most commoncancers are those with a primary site of liver, stomach and esophagus, for which cases fatality rates are high inall populations. Emphasis is given in the National Cancer Control Program (NCCP) to limiting treatment forthese and other high-fatality cancers to the small sub-set of potentially curable cases, while focusing on palliativecare and patient support for the remainder. Meanwhile opportunities are being pursued to prevent liver cancerthrough hepatitis B vaccination and lung cancer through tobacco control, and to reduce cervical cancer mortalityby finding lesions at a pre-malignant or early invasive stage.