Cancer Registries’ Value for You

Have you ever wondered, “How do we know what causes cancer?” or “Who is most likely to get cancer and why?” Learn what a cancer registry is and how they help answer these important questions.

Photo of Jennifer

Jennifer is a breast cancer survivor. Find out how information about her cancer will help scientists all over the world learn about this disease.

Photo of a trailer park in Camden, New Jersey.

The information that cancer registries collect helps them identify groups of people who are more likely to get a certain kind of cancer. Other groups can use this information to try to figure out why.

Example: Registry data found that people who receive organ transplants may have twice the risk of getting cancer as the general population.

Photo of a couple talking to their doctor.

When cancer registries learn that people who live in a certain area get cancer more often, or that their cancer is found at a later stage when it’s harder to treat, they can share that information with organizations that can try to figure out why and help fix the problem.

Example: Registry data help persuade a large health care system to support a statewide plan to increase colon cancer screening.

Aerial view of a rural road in North Dakota.

Sometimes it seems like a lot of people who live in a certain area are getting cancer, and people wonder if something in the environment might be causing it. Cancer registry data can help.

Example: The high lung cancer rates in Appalachian Kentucky aren’t only due to smoking. Cancer-causing elements in rocks are partly to blame.