I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated June 2012
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking for what reasons cases of brain and central nervous system tumours are not systematically and consistently registered using NICE classifications across England.
The NICE report on 'Improving Outcomes for People with Brain and Other CNS Tumours'(1) classified brain and CNS tumours into seven clinical groups, which are not directly comparable with the classification used for statistical purposes.
In England, cancer registration is carried out by eight regional registries that collect information on cancers registered to residents of their areas. These cancer registrations are subsequently submitted to ONS as a standard dataset, validated and quality assured. ONS then uses this information to publish National Statistics on cancer incidence and survival for England, for all cancer types. ONS carries out this work on behalf of the Department of Health, to agreed quality standards, to enable the Department, the NHS and others to monitor changing levels and patterns of the disease.
The cancer site codes and descriptions used by the cancer registries to submit information to ONS reflect the adoption by the NHS in 1995 of the International Classification of Diseases (Tenth Revision, ICD-10), which is published by the World Health Organization. Statistics based on ICD-10 are internationally comparable.
Brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) tumours are systematically and consistently registered by all English cancer registries. All brain and CNS tumours are registrable conditions, and so ONS receives data on all malignant, benign and unknown/uncertain behaviour brain and CNS cancers diagnosed in the population of England.
The latest published figures on incidence of cancer in England are available on the National Statistics website:
The latest published figures on cancer survival in England are available on the National Statistics website.
(1) National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (2006). “Improving Outcomes for People with Brain and Other CNS Tumours”. Available from: