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Enforced Data Collection on Brain Tumors

Enforced Data Collection on Brain Tumors

Legislation that would force all states to collect data on benign brain tumors got a hearing before a House subcommittee in mid-November. That was the critical first step needed before Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif), the measure’s sponsor, could start pushing her bill through Congress. Rep. Lee’s bill (H.R. 239) would make it mandatory for all states to collect data on the incidence of primary brain tumors (whether malignant or benign) in their state registries. Those registries get funding from, and pass their data along to, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via that agency’s National Program of Cancer Registries. 

The CDC spent about $36 million in fiscal 2001. At present, 21 state registries already collect malignant brain tumor data, but the other 29 do not. Rep. Lee estimates that the CDC would have to spend an additional $1 million to prod the 29 states to collect the desired data.

Brain tumors are the second leading cause of cancer death in children as well as the third leading cause of cancer death in young adults aged 15 to 34 years, although approximately half of all brain tumors are considered benign. Nationwide, the incidence of brain tumors has increased by 25% since 1975, for unknown reasons. Survival rates in women diagnosed with so-called benign meningiomas are lower than those for women with breast cancer.

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