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Person with cancer—morphology of cancer, code (ICD-O-3) NNNN/N

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termData Element
Short name:Help on this termMorphology of cancer
METeOR identifier:Help on this term399491
Registration status:Help on this termHealth, Standard 07/12/2011
Definition:Help on this termThe histological classification of the cancer tissue (histopathological type) in a person with cancer, and a description of the course of development that a tumour is likely to take: benign or malignant (behaviour), as represented by a code.
Data Element Concept:Person with cancer—morphology of cancer

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Classification scheme:International Classification of Diseases for Oncology 3rd edition
Representation class:Help on this termCode
Data type:Help on this termNumber
Format:Help on this termNNNN/N
Maximum character length:Help on this term5

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

ICD-O morphology describes histology and behaviour as separate variables, recognising that there are a large number of possible combinations.

In ICD-O, morphology is a 4-digit number ranging from 8000 to 9989, and behaviour is a single digit which can be 0, 1, 2, 3, 6 or 9. 

When the morphology is unknown, record 8000 and the appropriate behaviour code. For example, a tumour of unknown morphology with a behaviour code of "3" for a malignant primary site tumour would be recorded as 8000/3.

Source and reference attributes

Origin:Help on this termInternational Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition (ICD-O-3)

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

Tumour morphology refers to the type of cell (histology) that has become neoplastic and its biologic activity (behaviour).

Record the tumour morphology for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Record the tumour morphology relating to the initial diagnosis and not for recurrent disease.

Record morphology codes in accordance with ICD-O-3 coding standards. Use the 5th-digit to record behaviour. Refer to the coding guidelines for morphology in ICD-O-3, pp 27-34.

If the morphology differs on multiple pathology reports for the same tumour, use the value from the most representative tumour specimen examined. For example, if the tumour is described as ductal on core biopsy but undifferentiated carcinoma on the excision specimen, the morphology would be coded as undifferentiated carcinoma (a lower code) which has a less favourable diagnosis.

Collection methods:Help on this term

This information should be obtained from the patient's pathology reports or, in the case of cancer registries, from the notification reports.

Comments:Help on this termThe information is collected so that tumours can be classified into clinically relevant groups based on their primary site and morphology. This provides a basis for staging and the determination of treatment options. The morphology of the cancer also affects the course of the disease and prognosis.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this termCancer Australia
Origin:Help on this term

World Health Organization

New South Wales Health Department

State and Territory Cancer Registries
Reference documents:Help on this term

New South Wales Inpatient Statistics Collection Manual. 2000/2001

Esteban D, Whelan S, Laudico A, Parkin DM (Editors) 1995. World Health Organization and International Association of Cancer Registries: Manual for cancer registry personnel, IARC Technical Report No 10. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer

Fritz A et al. 2000. International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O), 3rd edition. Geneva: World Health Organization

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

Supersedes Person with cancer—morphology of cancer, code (ICDO-3) NNNN/N Health, Superseded 07/12/2011

Implementation in Data Set Specifications:Help on this term

Breast cancer (cancer registries) NBPDS Health, Standard 01/09/2012

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 08/05/2014

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 14/05/2015

Cancer (clinical) NBPDS Health, Standard 14/05/2015

Implementation in Indicators:Help on this termUsed as numerator
Australian Health Performance Framework: PI 3.1.2–Incidence of selected cancers, 2019 Health, Standard 09/04/2020
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02-Incidence of selected cancers, 2013 Health, Superseded 30/04/2014
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02-Incidence of selected cancers, 2014 Health, Superseded 14/01/2015
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02-Incidence of selected cancers, 2015 Health, Superseded 08/07/2016
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02–Incidence of selected cancers, 2016 Health, Superseded 31/01/2017
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02–Incidence of selected cancers, 2017 Health, Superseded 30/01/2018
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02–Incidence of selected cancers, 2018 Health, Superseded 19/06/2019
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02–Incidence of selected cancers, 2019 Health, Superseded 13/03/2020
National Healthcare Agreement: PI 02–Incidence of selected cancers, 2020 Health, Standard 13/03/2020
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