The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician, who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 21 June 2006:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question the recording of inflammatory breast cancer on death certificates where appropriate instead of a general description of advanced breast cancer. (78986)
Guidance for doctors on completion of the medical certificate of cause of death is available at www.gro.gov.uk/medcert/. This guidance follows that set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). It does not dictate or constrain the terminology used by doctors.
All breast cancer deaths are coded to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code C50, which only identifies the site of the tumour. Neither of the terms ‘advanced’ or ‘inflammatory’ would change the ICD coding of the cause of death.
Although WHO are currently reviewing the ICD, the change proposed in the question would be a fundamental change in the axes used for classification and more crucially, would have no impact on the way that breast cancer deaths were coded and hence reported.