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United States Cancer Statistics (USCS)

Technical Notes: Contributor: NPCR

Recognizing the need for more complete local, state, regional, and national data on cancer incidence, in 1992 Congress established the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) by enacting the Cancer Registries Amendment Act, later incorporated into the Public Health Service (PHS) Act [42 U.S.C. 242k]. Congress mandated CDC to provide funds to state and territorial health departments (or their authorized agencies) at a ratio of 3:1 to match state support for the central cancer registry. Today, CDC funds a total of 48 cancer registries: 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Island Jurisdictions.

NPCR registries cover 96% of the U.S. population. For 20 years, NPCR has continued to—

  • Monitor the state and national burden of cancer.
  • Identify variation in cancer incidence for racial and ethnic populations and for regions within a state, between states, and between regions.
  • Provide data for research.
  • Provide guidance for the allocation of health resources.
  • Respond to public concerns and inquiries about cancer.
  • Improve planning for future health care needs.
  • Evaluate activities in cancer prevention and control.

In January 2001, NPCR registries began reporting their incidence data annually to CDC. The registries report data to CDC beginning with cases diagnosed in the first year for which they collected data with the assistance of NPCR funds. Data from the special population cancer registries or the SEER metropolitan-area cancer registries operating in Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, and Washington are reported to their respective NPCR state cancer registries for inclusion in those states' incidence data and are transmitted to CDC as part of the state's annual data submission.

In November 2012, CDC received information on more than 22 million invasive cancer cases diagnosed during 1995–2010, and more than 1 million new invasive cancer cases are added each year.

In conjunction with the annual release of the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) report, CDC’S National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) recognizes each funded central cancer registry for its achievement of the NPCR Standards for Data Completeness, Timeliness, and Quality.

All standards are indicative of complete, timely, and quality data available for cancer control activities addressing the burden on U.S. citizens. Meeting these standards allows inclusion of the program’s data in the annual USCS report.

In addition to the data on this Web site, NPCR disseminates—

  • A public-use data set of pre-calculated cancer incidence rates on CDC WONDER.
  • Fact sheets on the states' cancer burden intended for lay audiences.
  • A data set for selected U.S. counties showing incidence rates and counts for major cancer sites. An example is available on State Cancer Profiles.
  • A restricted-access dataset available to researchers through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Research Data Center.
Page last reviewed: October 22, 2013
Page last updated: October 22, 2013
Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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