2021 Massachusetts Cancer Registry - Bedford Report

The Bedford Health Department and other health departments across the state rely on the epidemiologists and biostatisticians at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's (MA DPH) Cancer Registry to provide an estimate of cancer incidence statewide and in each of the 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. This data is reported annually by the Massachusetts Cancer Registry (MCR) for a five-year time period. Note the most recent MCR Report for Bedford (PDF) was generated in 2019 and reflects data from 2011 to 2015. The MRC collects data on newly diagnosed cancer cases from health care facilities and practitioners throughout Massachusetts. Facilities that reported the diagnoses that comprise the 2019 report include:

  • 69 Massachusetts acute care hospitals
  • 20 independent laboratories
  • 10 surgical centers
  • 5 radiation/oncology centers
  • 10 medical practice associations
  • 4 endoscopy centers
  • Approximately 500 private practice physicians

The 2019 data reported for Bedford, shows some cancers had slightly higher raw observed numbers vs expected numbers, but the statistical evaluation (controlling for age and sex) revealed that the statistical significance of the numbers of cases was not significantly different than what was expected state-wide. The observed numbers are raw data but the controlled data shows no significant difference from a statistical perspective. The one cancer reported in Bedford residents from the recent report that had a statistically significant result was uterine cancer, where the rate was significantly lower than expected.

The MA DPH would report to the Health Department any observed or perceived cancer clusters and would work with the local Health Department to evaluate potential causes. The Bedford Health Department has received no such notice in recent years. The MCR released Statewide Cancer Incidence Data for 2021 (PDF), covering the years 2013t o 2017, but has not yet released an updated town specific report, but is expected to be released by the end of 2021 according to MA DPH.