SEER Training Modules

Population-Based Registries

In comparison to the hospital-based cancer registry, the data collected by the population-based registry serves a wider range of purposes.

Advantages of a population-based cancer registry include cancer control programs, patient care programs, administrative programs, and cancer research programs.

Data from population-based registries can be used for monitoring the distribution of late-diagnosed cases of cancer of the types for which early diagnosis is the strategy for control, esp., communities, ethnicities, age and other demographic groups.

For example, Cancer surveillance programs such as SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) use cancer statistics collected by population-based registries to monitor the distribution of cases of cancer among certain occupations, communities, ethnicities, ages, and other demographic groups.

The population-based registry plays an important role in improving patient care programs. Linkage services from this type of cancer registry for care providers provide a cost-effective source of data necessary for clinical program, such as follow-up results of a mammography program, stage of diagnosis data to managed care organizations, treatment selection data for groups monitoring clinical treatment guidelines utilization, etc.

The cancer registry may also provide services to hospital cancer programs such as shared follow-up, death clearance, and pooled data on treatment, stage, or survival.

Many cancer agencies and organizations rely on data collected by population-based registries. Based on accurate and timely cancer statistics, healthcare planners make decisions on resource allocation, such as the placement of radiotherapy facilities, proper staffing of cancer control programs, and "market share" reports for existing facilities. Cancer statistics provided by population-based cancer registries make it possible for public health administrators to evaluate suspected clusters of cancer within communities or population groups.

Cancer research programs benefit greatly from the cancer data collected by population-based cancer registries: an unbiased group of cases can be selected for cancer studies; studies of association of cancer and other diseases, environments, occupations, or other sources of exposures can be conducted.