Autopsies may be used to know the causes of death in population. In Navarra, the number of patients who died by cancer and were autopsied has increased. A similar pattern appeared in other communities.
We reviewed 2,643 autopsies performed in the main hospitals of Navarra. In each autopsy, age, sex, existence of primary malignant tumor, and its histologic type and localization were analyzed. The results were compared to the statistics of mortality of the Tumoral Register of Navarra. The modifications from 1980 to 1988 were studied.
There is a significant increase of autopsy and mortality by cancer in Navarra. In autopsy cases, there is a high incidence of colon carcinoma and hepato-biliary carcinoma. The incidence in all cancer dead patients is similar being greater in hepato-biliary carcinoma and pancreas carcinoma. The percentage of autopsies in patients over 60 years of age is decreased, but it has increased in all cancer dead patients of the same group of age in the community of Navarra. In the autopsies of patients over 60 years of age there has been a rise in breast carcinoma, while there has been a general increase in all dead patients. In all deaths of people under 60 years of age, there has been a decrease, but in autopsy cases there has been an increase of colon carcinoma.
In autopsy series from 1980 to 1988, cancer deaths increased significantly. There is not relationship between cancer dead patients and autopsy cases in the studied data. In hepato-biliary carcinoma, there is an increase in autopsy cases and cancer dead patients. Discrepancies between the number of deaths of cancer patients and autopsy patients revealed that the performance of autopsy depends of multiple causes.
CITATION Med Clin (Barc). 1991 Apr 6;96(13):486-90
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