National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR)

Cancer Registries: Measuring Progress. Targeting Action.

Cancer registries provide the data-driven foundation for cancer control efforts in the United States. Find out what they are, how they work, and who can use the data they provide.

CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) funds 50 cancer registries: 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Pacific Island Jurisdictions, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

NPCR is committed to—

  • Monitoring the state and national burden of cancer.
  • Identifying variation in cancer incidence for racial and ethnic populations and for regions within a state, between states, and between regions.
  • Providing data for research.
  • Providing guidance for the allocation of health resources.
  • Responding to public concerns and inquiries about cancer.
  • Improved planning for future health care needs.
  • Evaluating activities in cancer prevention and control.

In January 2001, NPCR-funded 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 registry for inclusion in those states’ incidence data and are transmitted to CDC as part of the state’s annual data submission.

In the 2022 data submission, CDC received information on more than 37.9 million invasive cancer cases, and 2.75 million in situ cases diagnosed during 1995 through 2020. In addition, 935,508 benign and borderline brain and central nervous system tumors were reported during 2004 through 2020. More than 1.6 million new invasive cancer cases are added each year.

In conjunction with the annual release of United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) data, NPCR evaluates each funded central cancer registry’s data according to NPCR’s standards for data completeness, timeliness, and quality. Registry data must meet these standards to be included in USCS data products.

The release of USCS data in products including the Data Visualizations tool and Public Use Databases exemplifies the progress achieved in creating a national system of cancer surveillance. Viewers are able to access locally relevant cancer data at the county and congressional district levels. Since these data are collected using national standards, users can compare information across geographic areas and over time. Data from state and county levels can be used to plan and evaluate cancer control programs, conduct research, and monitor cancer trends.

Partners such as the central cancer registry are crucial to the success of cancer surveillance in the United States. The efforts and achievements of many partner organizations contribute to USCS data products and the advances in cancer surveillance in the United States.

USCS data products include—

  • A web-based data visualizations tool that displays USCS data, the official federal cancer statistics.
  • Public use databases for researchers to analyze more than 35 million cancer cases.
  • A public use data set of pre-calculated cancer incidence and death rates on CDC WONDER.
  • Data briefs and Stat Bites on cancer burden intended for general audiences.
  • A website designed to help guide and prioritize cancer control activities at the state and county level at State Cancer Profiles.
  • A restricted-access dataset available to researchers through the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center.