Broccia, Giorgio and Deplano, Wilma and Dessalvi, Paolo and Giannico, Barbara and Luxi, Giovanni and Chessa, E. and Murru, Antonietta (2004) Hematological malignancies in the island of Sardinia, 1974-1993: age and sex distributions and temporal changes in incidence. Hematological Oncology, Vol. 22 (3), p. 91-109. eISSN 1099-1069. Article.
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We have collected, by an active retrospective survey, all the cases of hematologic malignancies (HM) newly diagnosed during the time period 1974–1993 in the resident population of Sardinia. Diagnosis was deemed valid, after consultation of clinical records, in more than 90% of the 7264 collected cases. The number of newly diagnosed cases by year more than doubled during the 20-year period investigated. This striking increase can be only partially accounted for by ageing of population. Indeed, age-specific and age-adjusted rates of most of HM increased during this period, although Hodgkin Disease (HD), Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) were notable exceptions. The observed increase in rates is likely, in a large part, to be fictitious, due to easier access to a health care system, which in the meantime, improved its diagnostic efficiency. This was particularly evident for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Multiple Myeloma (MM) and some others myelo- and lympho-proliferative disorders, but its relevance declined after 1984–1989. A likely true increase in occurrence was evidenced for Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (NHL) and similarly, although to a lesser extent and more doubtful, for Myelodysplasias (MDS) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). At the end of the studied period each type of HM presented age and sex distributions and ageadjusted rates that show only minor differences from those reported for other western countries. No argument emerged to suggest that any genetic peculiarities of the Sardinian population might have affected the occurrence of HM. The confounding effects of improved diagnostic efficiency have prevented a reliable assessment of influence on incidences of environmental and socio-economic changes that, in relatively recent times, have occurred in Sardinia.
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