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Comparing causes of death of Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer patients between medical records and cause-of-death statistics

Authors de Vries S, Schaapveld M, Kardaun JWPF, de Bruin KH, Krol ADG, Lugtenburg PJ, Jacobse JN, Aleman BMP, van Leeuwen FE

Received 3 January 2018

Accepted for publication 25 June 2018

Published 16 October 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 1523—1531


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Simone de Vries,1 Michael Schaapveld,1 Jan WPF Kardaun,2,3 Kim H de Bruin,2 Augustinus DG Krol,4 Pieternella J Lugtenburg,5 Judy N Jacobse,1 Berthe MP Aleman,6 Flora E van Leeuwen1

1Department of Epidemiology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 2Department of Health and Care, Statistics Netherlands, The Hague, the Netherlands; 3Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 4Department of Radiotherapy, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands; 5Department of Hematology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; 6Department of Radiation Oncology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Objective: Obtaining accurate data about causes of death may be difficult in patients with a complicated disease history, including cancer survivors. This study compared causes of death derived from medical records (CODMR) with causes of death derived from death certificates (CODDC) as processed by Statistics Netherlands of patients primarily treated for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) or breast cancer (BC).
Methods: Two hospital-based cohorts comprising 1,215 HL patients who died in the period 1980–2013 and 714 BC patients who died in the period 2000–2013 were linked with cause-of-death statistics files. The level of agreement was assessed for common underlying causes of death using Cohen’s kappa, and original death certificates were reviewed when CODDC and CODMR showed discrepancies. We examined the influence of using CODDC or CODMR on standardized mortality ratio (SMR) estimates.
Results: Agreement for the most common causes of death, including selected malignant neoplasms and circulatory and respiratory diseases, was 81% for HL patients and 97% for BC patients. HL was more often reported as CODDC (CODDC=33.1% vs. CODMR=23.2%), whereas circulatory disease (CODDC=15.6% vs. CODMR=20.9%) or other diseases potentially related to HL treatment were more often reported as CODMR. Compared to SMRs based on CODDC, SMRs based on CODMR complemented with CODDC were lower for HL and higher for circulatory disease.
Conclusion: Overall, we observed high levels of agreement between CODMR and CODDC for common causes of death in HL and BC patients. Observed discrepancies between CODMR and CODDC frequently occurred in the presence of late effects of treatment for HL.

Keywords: cause of death, Hodgkin lymphoma, breast cancer, mortality statistics

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