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Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

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Maine Cancer Registry - Glossary

Age:
The person's age at the time of diagnosis or death.
Age-Adjusted Rates:
A rate that has been statistically modified to eliminate the effect of varying age distributions in different populations. Age adjustment is a statistical method that is used to allow health measures (like rates of disease, death, or injuries) to be compared between communities with different age structures.
Age-Specific Incidence Rates:
The number of new cases diagnosed per 100,000 people, over a given time period for a specific age group.
Burden:
Burden is the average number of new cases and deaths that occurred during a given time period.
Confidence Interval:
A range around a measurement conveying the amount of precision. In general, the wider the range, the less precise the number.
Death Clearance:
The process in which death certificates with a cause of death related to cancer are used to identify cases not already reported to the Maine Cancer Registry. This process also provides vital status information for cases already in the registry.
Family History:
The occurrence of a disease in a close blood relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, that may increase one's risk of being diagnosed with that disease.
Five-Year Relative Survival Rates:
The proportion of people, when other causes of death are taken into account, who are alive five years after diagnosis.
ICD-9/ICD-10:
The Ninth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) is the classification system used for all mortality data prior to 1999. ICD-10 is the 10th revion and is used for mortality data from 1999 forward. The ICD-9 and ICD-10 are published by the World Health Organization.
ICD-O:
The International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, the standards reference for classifying cancers. The ICD-O was developed as a further classification of the ICD-9 that is specifically for classifying cancer. The ICD-O is published by the World Health Organization.
Incidence Rate:
The number of new cases of a disease occurring in a period of time divided by the size of the population at risk of becoming a case during that period of time. The result is often multiplied by a base number, such as 1,000 or 100,000.
Mortality Rate:
The number of deaths attributed to a disease during a specific period of time divided by the size of the population during that period of time. The result is often multiplied by a base number, such as 1,000 or 100,000.
Prevalence:
The proportion of a defined population affected by a disease at a specified point in time. The numerator of the proportion comprises all those who have the disease at that instant, regardless of whether it was diagnosed recently or long ago. Diseases with a long duration tend to have a higher prevalence than short-term illnesses.
SEER:
SEER is the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results, of the National Cancer Institute. SEER collects information on cancers from a statistical sample of the United States population.
Site:
The anatomical site (organ or organ system) in which the cancer starts, for example, the lungs, colon or bone marrow.
Stage:
The extent to which a cancer has progressed.
Statistically Significant:
The difference between two rates is considered statistically significant if the difference would have occurred by chance less than five times out of 100. If a difference is statistically significant, it is not likely due to random chance.