What is Cancer Registration?

Based on the data in the epidemiological cancer registries, cancer incidence and course and suvrival can be observed.

Historically, the role of cancer registries has been to collect population-based data on all cancers being diagnosed, treated or dead within a well-defined population. Step by step, an increasing number of cantonal cancer registries across Switzerland have been collecting such data for over 40 years.

All cancer registries share the same main objective: to deliver timely, comparable and high-quality cancer data in order to produce statistics about incidence, prevalence, survival and mortality. Registries achieve this by collecting information on every new case of cancer (or, more specifically, the condition considered to be registrable occurring in their populations.The information is acquired from a variety of sources including hospitals, hospices, private hospitals, cancer screening programmes, other cancer registries clinicians (i.e. general practitioner and specialist), nursing homes, death certificates. In many instances, more than one source of information is available to cancer registries from a single organization, for example hospital patient information systems, pathology laboratories, medical records in clinical departments and radiotherapy databases. All registries collect a common minimum data set of information, describing every medical characteristic of the disease.

Processing of the data involves checking the validity and completeness 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 every population set of 100,000 people, around 430 new registrations are likely to be added to the database on average each year.

In recent years the work of all registries has expanded to include the analysis of aspects of cancer prevention, treatment and care. Registries can assess how local and national targets for cancer services provision are met, and can contribute important information to the planning of services.

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