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Annual Report 2018

Division of Health Services Research

Takahiro Higashi, Tomone Watanabe, Izumi Inoue, Naoki Sakakibara, Ryoko Rikitake, Taro Tomizuka, Taisuke Ishii, Yuichi Ichinose, Rei Goto, Takehiro Sugiyama, Yasuo Hamamoto, Yukari Isaka, Hiromasa Kanemura, Momoko Iwamoto, Tamaki Kakuwa, Mei Matsuki, Hideaki Kobayashi, Kunio Nishimura, Chisato Izumi, Soshiro Ogata, Kaoru Konno, Yuriko Nishikawa


 The Division of Health Services Research conducts research that helps improve cancer care in Japan by conducting meaningful evaluations of health systems and health policy performance.

Research activities

1. Cancer registry-linked DPC database

 As part of our ongoing initiative to monitor the quality of cancer care in Japan using a database of cancer registry-linked DPC data, we continued building the database for cancer patients diagnosed in 2015. After collecting DPC data from a total of 436 hospitals, adherence to standards of care, as previously devised based on the clinical guidelines, was analyzed using existing quality indicators across cancers and on all 42 QIs.

 The results were then fed back to each participating hospital, followed by another voluntary data collection concerning the reasons for non-adherence. We then aggregated the data to present the final results as a paper-based report.

2. Rare Cancer Control Policy

 The Division has been assigned the administrative task of facilitating the Working Group for Rare Cancer Control Policy by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. In 2018, the Division continued to host two subcommittee meetings: one for soft tissue sarcomas of extremities and the other for eye tumors. We have updated an online information platform where patients can access freely to collect information regarding the current care practice for patients with soft tissue sarcomas of extremities across Japan.

3. Monitoring and Evaluation of National Cancer Control Programs

 The Division continued to implement an evaluation program to evaluate the recent Cancer Control Policy in Japan. In response to the revision of the Cancer Control Act, we have reviewed the patient experience survey conducted in 2015. Following careful review and in light of the current Cancer Control Act, several indicators were newly added to the existing survey, with the aim of evaluating up-to-date cancer control. An updated version of the survey was first launched in December 2018. In addition to the existing survey, an attempt to implement a new type of patient experience survey targeting parents of pediatric cancer patients was also launched.

Training and education

 The Division accepted two visiting researchers and provided continuous education. We hosted four medical students from The University of Tokyo for a clerkship in Public Health. The Division also established an Affiliate Graduate Program with The University of Tokyo's Department of Public Health/ Health Policy, opening the doors to graduate school students who were interested in gaining handson public health training.

Future Prospects

 The Division envisions facilitating evidencebased policymaking and improving cancer patient care by monitoring the performance of cancer policy and quality of care among cancer treatment centers nationwide. To do so, the Division is working to provide an information exchange platform along with the solid baseline data for specialists and various stakeholders, designed to foster evidence-based exchange of ideas for cancer policy planning.

List of papers published in 2018


 1. Rikitake R, Tsukada Y, Ando M, Yoshida M, Iwamoto M, Yamasoba T, Higashi T. Use of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy for Nasopharyngeal Cancer in Japan: Analysis Using a Nationwide Database. Jpn J Clin Oncol, 2019

 2. Higashi T, Watanabe T, Iwamoto M, Mikami M. The Use of Sensitive Imaging Modalities for Cervical Cancer Staging in Japan. Glob J Health Sci, 11:75-82, 2019

 3. Matsumura S, Ozaki M, Iwamoto M, Kamitani S, Higashi T, Toyama M, Bito S, Waza K. Development and pilot-testing of Quality Indicators for primary care in Japan. JMA Journal, 2019

 4. Watanabe T, Mikami M, Katabuchi H, Kato S, Kaneuchi M, Takahashi M, Nakai H, Nagase S, Niikura H, Mandai M, Hirashima Y, Yanai H, Yamagami W, Kamitani S, Higashi T. Quality indicators for cervical cancer care in Japan. J Gynecol Oncol, 29:e83, 2018

 5. Sakakibara N, Higashi T, Yamashita I, Yoshimoto T, Matoba M. Negative pain management index scores do not necessarily indicate inadequate pain management: a cross-sectional study. BMC Palliat Care, 17:102, 2018

 6. Okuyama A, Higashi T. Patterns of cancer treatment in different age groups in Japan: an analysis of hospital-based cancer registry data, 2012-2015. Jpn J Clin Oncol, 48:417-425, 2018

 7. Hamamoto Y, Sakakibara N, Nagashima F, Kitagawa Y, Higashi T. Treatment selection for esophageal cancer: evaluation from a nationwide database. Esophagus, 15:109-114, 2018


 1. Higashi T. Epidemiology. In: Kurokawa Y, Komatsu Y (ed), Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Research and Practice, Singapore, Springer Singapore, pp 1-9, 2019