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A cancer registry is an information system designed for the collection, management, and analysis of data on patients with the diagnosis of a malignant or neoplastic disease.

Hospital registries maintain data on all patients diagnosed and/or treated for cancer at their facility. Healthcare facilities report cancer cases to the central or state cancer registry as required by law.

A national cancer database is beneficial because it calculates the incidence of cancer, evaluates the efficacy of treatment modalities, calculates survival rates, develops educational and screening programs, and conducts research on the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

UNC Cancer Registry

The UNC Cancer Registry is the foundation for cancer surveillance and study within the UNC Health System. We capture a complete summary of each patient diagnosed with cancer within our health system, from their history, diagnosis, first course treatment, and disease progression, along the way monitoring a patient’s disease status and outcomes until point of death.

The focus of our registry is to provide the most complete and accurate record for our physicians and administrators to make the best clinical care and hospital decisions possible. Our goal at UNC is to provide high-quality data to inform best practices and improvements in quality and care for our patients, providing them the best treatment outcomes available.

UNC is an American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center (ACoS CoC) with our data being submitted to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), the oldest and largest special population based registry in the United States. Data is used to determine trends and create benchmarks for participating hospitals, and serves as a basis for quality improvement. Additionally, UNC’s cancer data is submitted to the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry (NCCCR), contributing to the national statistics for incidence and mortality reports along with annual federal cancer statistics within the United States.

The UNC Cancer Registry could not be successful without the help of everyone in the UNC Health System and UNC Healthcare System’s dedication to excellent, quality patient care.

UNC Cancer Registry participates in Rapid Case Ascertainment. Rapid Case Ascertainment (RCA) is an acceleration of the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry’s reporting process for quick identification of cancer patients throughout the state. RCA identifies cancer patients that will qualify for current clinical trials opportunities.

Cancer Registry Data Requests

Internal UNC Medical Center quality improvement projects

Please contact

All data requests to support research and/or publication

Submit a request via NC TraCS:

  1. To get started with a research data request, click the “Submit a Request” button.
  2. Complete the form according to your needs – for the question “Which NC TraCS service do you need help from?” please select “Informatics & Data Science.”
  3. After you submit your answers, an analyst will be in touch shortly with next steps.


The initial formation of a cancer registry began in 1921. The American College of Surgeons introduced to the United States the concept of cancer registry with the establishment of a bone sarcoma registry, which was later expanded to include other types of cancer. The Connecticut Cancer Registry, established in 1941 with registered cases dating back to 1935, was the first population-based central registry and is still in existence today.

In the years that followed, the field of cancer registration expanded and benefited from the support of many organizations. In October 1992, in order to address the need for cancer incidence data for planning and evaluation of cancer control, Congress passed a Public Law known as the Cancer Registry Amendment Act. This act supported technical assistance to improve existing statewide registries where they did not exist, set standards for data collection, developed state laws and regulation, established a set of required data elements and formatting, and provided training to central cancer registries.