FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are the GLOBOCAN estimates for previous years (e.g. 2008) still available?
No. The increasing availability of incidence data from cancer registries and mortality data from vital statistics offices, coupled with the fine-tuning of the estimation methods means that the current incidence and mortality estimates for 2012 cannot be directly compared to estimates from previous versions (e.g. GLOBOCAN 2008). To avoid potential confusion among users, we prefer to provide only the latest and most reliable statistics on the current global cancer incidence and mortality burden (for 2012). If there are specific requirements to view GLOBOCAN 2008, please email a request to csu@iarc.fr.

What are the major differences between GLOBOCAN 2012 and GLOBOCAN 2008?
There are several differences between GLOBOCAN 2008 and GLOBOCAN 2012 which relate to availability of incidence and/or mortality data, methods used to estimate rates in the absence of data.
A summary is provided using the Data sources and methods menu option.

What are the differences between mortality data available in GLOBOCAN 2012 and those available with the WHO mortality databank?
The mortality data presented in GLOBOCAN 2012 are estimates based on recorded data available through the WHO mortality databank for earlier periods together with prediction methods. In addition, the WHO mortality data may have been corrected to take into account some degree of incompleteness or under coverage. These corrections are incorporated into GLOBOCAN 2012.

What is the relationship between GLOBOCAN and Cancer Incidence in Five Continents (CI5)?
The series of CI5 volumes present detailed information on the incidence of cancer recorded by cancer registries (regional or national) worldwide during a specific period of time (generally 5-year). It is the major source of information to compute the country-specific cancer incidence estimates presented in GLOBOCAN. National incidence rates published in CI5 may not correspond exactly to those published in GLOBOCAN 2012 because they are presented for a different time period, and computed using a different set of populations.

How frequently will GLOBOCAN be updated?
We will periodically, make minor modifications to the underlying data within GLOBOCAN 2012 in order to correct identified errors. The current release version of GLOBOCAN 2012 will be identified on the website and an error correction log maintained.

Are there specific warnings we should note when using GLOBOCAN 2012?
  • Estimates for 2012 provided in GLOBOCAN 2012 may not always correspond to recorded data which are now becoming available. Regular updates of GLOBOCAN 2012 are planed when sufficient recorded national incidence and mortality data for 2012 are available. However, this will have little impact on the estimation of the overall burden of cancer.
  • The estimated numbers of cancer cases or deaths for a region may not correspond to the sum of the estimated numbers of cancer cases or deaths of the individual countries: the population for the region may include some small country populations for which no estimates are provided.
  • Prevalence estimates are provided for the total adult population only (age 15 and over).
  • Care should be taken when using the Prediction option. The expected number of new cancer cases or deaths in a country or region in 2015,...,2035 is computed by multiplying the age-specific incidence/mortality rates estimated for 2012, by the corresponding expected population for 2015,...,2035. These expected populations differ from that of 2012, which is used to compute the estimated rates, in term of age structure and size. Therefore, the sum of the expected numbers of new cancer cases or deaths in 2015,..,2035 in different countries or regions will not correspond to the expected number of cancer cases or deaths in 2015,...,2035 if these were computed as a single area. For example, the expected number of deaths from cervical cancer worldwide in 2035 is different when computed using the world mortality rates and the expected world population for 2035, than the sum of the corresponding estimates for 2035 obtained from the less and more developed regions.

Section of Cancer Surveillance (CSU) 12-12-2013.