Improving cancer registries in CIS countries – Kyrgyzstan hosts a Basic Cancer Registration Course co-organized by WHO/Europe and WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer


Population-based cancer registries are needed for quantifying the burden of cancer and assessing national prevention and control programmes. Well trained cancer registry staff play a crucial role in ensuring good-quality data and adequate data analysis, interpretation and dissemination. WHO/Europe and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) with its Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development programme have collaborated to develop and improve capacity for cancer registration in the WHO European Region, particularly in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Within this framework, the WHO Country Office in Bishkek hosted the second cancer registration and CanReg5 course in Russian, co-organized by IARC and WHO/Europe, on 28 November–2 December 2016. The course’s international faculty comprised Ariana Znaor of the IARC; Sultan Eser of the IARC Regional Hub in Izmir; Anton Ryzhov and Mikhail Valkov, Russian-speaking cancer registration experts from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, respectively; and facilitator Elena Ten of the Kyrgyz Cancer Registry.

The course’s 26 participants were from 8 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan. Most were medical statisticians and epidemiologists or public health specialists who work daily with cancer registration or are in charge of developing cancer registration in their country. The programme included basic cancer registration principles and methods, coding and classification, and training in using CanReg5 software.

The course was very well received and positively evaluated. In particular, participants appreciated the opportunity to present their registries and receive comments from the group, a process that will continue via the Facebook community they established during the course to further exchange experiences and information.

The course contributes to the efforts of the IARC and WHO/Europe to improve the quality and standing of cancer registries in the countries of the CIS and to support their role in national cancer control and research.

The IARC and WHO/Europe organized the course in the context of the Project on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, financed by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.

Comments from the Facebook community

“Teamwork makes us stronger, more open and ready to help each other … I believe that 2 December 2016 was not the end, but the beginning of something new, beautiful and useful for mankind.”

“Over the five days we became a family. So sad to leave, I hope we will meet again and again! Thanks again to all of you for the great experience and good mood! … This is not one of the best, this course is the very best course in all my experience.”