About Registration

What is cancer registration?

Cancer registries are unique in being able to provide adequate historical trend and population-based data to monitor changes in cancer incidence or survival over long periods of time.

Historically, the role of the cancer registries has been to collect population-based data on the incidence of, and survival from, all cancers. Regional cancer registries across the UK have been collecting population-based cancer data for over 40 years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS ) began collating data from the regional registries in England and Wales during the early 1960s, for the provision of national cancer statistics. The ONS still collates data from all the English registries but Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have just one, national, cancer registry.

All cancer registries share the same main objective: to deliver timely, comparable and high-quality cancer data. Registries achieve this by collecting information on every new diagnosis of cancer (or more specifically condition considered to be registrable) occurring in their populations (a list of mandatory registrable conditions is available to download below).

The information is acquired from a variety of sources including hospitals, cancer centres, treatment centres, hospices, private hospitals, cancer screening programmes, other cancer registers, general practices, nursing homes, death certificates, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and Cancer Waiting Time (CWT) data. In many instances, more than one source of information is available to cancer registries from a single organisation, for example hospital patient information systems (PAS), pathology laboratories, medical records departments and radiotherapy databases.

Processing of the data involves checking the validity and completeness of the data and a complex process of clinical data linkage and consolidation. The number of new registrations made each year depends on the population size covered by the individual registry. To give an example, for a registry with a population of 5 million people, around 30,000 new registrations are likely to be added to the database on average each year.

All registries collect a common minimum dataset of information. Cancer registries in England are also working to ensure that they have systems in place to allow them to receive and process the extended list of cancer registration data items for the National Cancer Dataset.

For further information about the work of cancer registries, please contact your local registry.

Documents to downloadSize
Mandatory registrable conditions.pdf12.83 KB