The UK is widely acknowledged as having one of the most comprehensive cancer registration systems in the world. There are currently 11 cancer registries in the UK, each covering populations of between approximately 1.65 and 13.8 million people. Cancer registration in England is conducted by eight regional registries, which also submit a standard dataset of information to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), for the collation of national cancer incidence data. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have one, national, cancer registry.
Although changes in health geography, including the introduction of cancer networks in response to the Calman Hine report for commissioning cancer services, have led to some cross-boundary issues for the English registries, the registries still provide complete coverage of the UK for the collection of population-based cancer data.
Commissioning for the provision of the cancer registration system in the UK is now shared between the Department of Health in England, the National Assembly for Wales Department of Health and Social Care, the Scottish Executive Health Department, and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Health in Northern Ireland. Consequently, the UKACR has an essential role in providing a focus for cancer registration in the UK, especially by ensuring that registries are fully aware of any cross-national issues or relevant legislation.