During the compilation of an atlas of cancer mortality in England and Wales on a small area scale, one rural district was found to have raised death rates for most sites of cancer. On investigation this proved to be related to the opening in that district of a home for patients terminally ill with cancer. Deaths occurring in the home to patients from outside areas were not consistently transferred back to the deceased's area of residence. The effect of the transferability status of the home on the district's cancer rates is described. The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys is now reviewing the procedure for coding the area of residence of deaths in long stay institutions.
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