The Cancer Registry’s New Director Wishes to Strengthen Contact with the Medical Community

Giske Ursin took over the position as Director of the Cancer Registry of Norway after Frøydis Langmark 5 January 2011. She wishes to strengthen the contact with the basic science and clinical communities. Over the past few years, the Cancer Registry has started developing several extensive databases with details on cancer treatment, so called quality registries. Dr. Ursin has announced that these registries will undergo a systematic review and that efforts will need to be concentrated on a few of them. In order to develop additional quality registries the Cancer Registry needs more resources.

Giske Ursin took over the position as Director of the Cancer Registry of Norway after Frøydis Langmark 5 January 2011. She wishes to strengthen the contact with the basic science and clinical communities. Over the past few years, the Cancer Registry has started developing several extensive databases with details on cancer treatment, so called quality registries.  Dr. Ursin has announced that these registries will undergo a systematic review and that efforts will need to be concentrated on a few of them.  In order to develop additional quality registries the Cancer Registry needs more resources.

English translation: barbara.mortsen@kreftregisteret.no

Giske Ursin is 49 years old and after completing her M.D. in Bergen she obtained a Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health.  She did her postdoctoral training under Professor Malcolm C. Pike at the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. She subsequently became a faculty member at USC, she obtained tenure in 2001, and ultimately became Professor in the same department.  In 2001 she was appointed Professor at the Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Oslo. For the past few years she was Vice leader of that Department. She is an elected member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Solid cancer epidemiology background

Giske Ursin has published 140 scientific articles with emphasis on epidemiological studies of cancer of reproductive organs. Her main research interests are within breast cancer, specifically hormonal risk factors of breast cancer and mammography density. She has used data from large population-based case-control and cohort studies, as well as data from clinical studies.

Announces a review of the quality registries and infrastructure at the Cancer Registry

The Cancer Registry has in the past two years modernized its infrastructure. However, these efforts have resulted in delays in the coding of cancer data for the year 2009. At the same time numerous quality registries have started or are in various stages of planning. This is an important but ambitious task. Dr. Ursin announces a review of all the quality registries. The Cancer Registry must either receive a substantial increase in resources, or the number of quality registries must be reduced, as well as the amount of information in each registry.

Dr. Ursin stresses that it is important that external users of clinical data understand how the information the Cancer Registry contains can be used, and its limitations. The Cancer Registry has substantial expertise in this area and it is important that external users seek and take advantage of this epidemiologic expertise.

Wants a closer connection to basic science and clinical environments

Giske Ursin wants a closer dialogue with the clinical research community throughout the country.  A major impediment is the current geographic location of the Cancer Registry, as it is currently situated in a business building, isolated from all other medical institutions. Dr. Ursin thinks it is important that the Registry is moved to a central location within the basic scientific research and clinical environments. “ Ideally we would like a “super university” where the Cancer Registry was located along with the best basic scientists and clinicians in cancer care in Norway,” she says.  An alternative is to move the Cancer Registry closer to one of the existing environments.  However, then it becomes important for the Cancer Registry to obtain sufficient resources and space to receive visiting researchers from within and outside the country.  This will not only gain the research at the Cancer Registry, but would make the expertise at the registry more widely available to the cancer community,  and would therefore help raise the level of cancer epidemiology in Norway.

The Cancer Registry shall continue to work to increase knowledge about cancer causes, prevention and optimal treatment.  As the law regulating the Cancer Registry states, the goal of the registry is to prevent incidence, suffering and death caused by cancer.