About the database

ITACAN, the new version of the AIRTUM Database
is online!

The AIRTUM database, hosted by ISPO (Institute for oncologic research and prevention, Florence), is the main national archive to which all the tumour data collected by individual accredited registries are sent. At present, the deposited data include:

  • more than two million tumour cases (2,113,378 malignant cancers diagnosed between 1968 and 2010);
  • almost one million deaths due to cancer (971,154 deaths occurred in the same period).

Before entering the database, you should note that...


you will not find estimates for all the Italian territory, but only for areas of the country covered by accredited Italian cancer registries.
Cancer registration is not conducted in a systematic way in Italy; only 43% of the population is covered by a registry (see map and coverage ). Cancers are counted only where there are registries (observed data). For the rest of the territory there is a different procedure: statistical estimates are produced based on incidence data from the covered areas and mortality data provided by ISTAT. In the AIRTUM database (and in this site) one will not find estimates for the areas not covered by registries, nor estimates for the whole of Italy or individual regions, but one will find actual data for:

  • individual cancer registries
  • combined registries (pooled data)
  • grouped registries (northern, central and southern Italy).

    Estimates and projections, even if based on data from AIRTUM, are not produced by the Registries, but by the Department of Epidemiology of Cancer of the ISS in collaboration with the National Institute for Cancer in Milan. They are available at www.tumori.net.

    Any information in the database are given by medical /health professionals and other cancer registry operators with specific expertise. In the page "About us" you find the association contacts. Information provided on this site is meant to complement and not replace the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her own physician. AIRTUM and editorial board of this web site respect the legal requirements, including those concerning medical and personal information privacy, that apply in the country of the site.


    In the section Materials/Manuals you can download:
    • the manual for the rules of access to and use of the database;
    • the operational protocol for the processing of data in the database is available only to registered users.
    These materials are avalaible only in Italian language. Italian version


    Who controls the quality of the data?
    Prior to being sent to the national database, the cases are codified by the individual registries following the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-O 3). The quality is checked before and after being sent to the database.
    Analyses of quality indicators show a high level of completeness and validity of the collected data, and give reassurance of the comparability of the different areas. The high quality of the data produced by AIRTUM is demonstrated by its regular inclusion in international publications on cancer (Eurocare 4, Cancer in Five Continents, etc.).

    Do the registries publish out-of-date data?
    In the report AIRTUM 2011, are published the survival data for tumours diagnosed until 2007. However, this does not mean that the data are old or out-of-date for, when one considers the complexity of the process for collection, evaluation and archival of the information produced by the registries, these are the earliest achievable dates. AIRTUM guarantees an optimum data quality, but, as for registries in other European countries and in the United States, its procedures require at least three years of work for the publication of one year’s incidence data. The length of time to publication is variously determined by the numerous phases of work (link in Italian Italian version) followed in the registries. AIRTUM is, however, working to reduce the production time of its data.