Historical Events

2500 B.C.

Earliest known description of "cancer": the "Edwin Smith" and "George Ebers" papyri which describe surgery, pharmacology, and mechanical and magical treatments

400 B.C.

Hippocrates described a breast "cancer" as "karkinoma" (known now as carcinoma) during surgical removal of a tumor

1629 A.D.

Cancer is first mentioned as a cause of death in the Bills of Mortality in England


London's "General Census of Cancer" - the first known systematic collection of information on cancer is generated


Implementation of death registration (what we now know as "death certification") in the United States


Earliest known population-based systematic collection of data on people with leprosy in Norway (a population-based leprosy registry)


First hospital registry established in Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT


First state/central registry established in Connecticut


American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer supported the development of hospital-based registries


National Cancer Act budgeted funds to the National Cancer Institute for research, detection, and cancer treatment


The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of NCI established the first national cancer registry


The National Tumor Registrars Association (NTRA) was chartered May 14, 1974, in Dallas, Texas, which is a national organization representing registry professionals


First Examination for the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential


Congress established a National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR)

The Cancer Registries Amendment Act Public Law 102-515, legislation authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide funding to states and territories to establish or enhance cancer registries


NTRA became the National Cancer Registrars Association


CDC provided support to 42 states and district of Columbia for cancer registries


SEER collects and publishes data from population-based cancer registries covering approximately 48% of the U.S. population


Via NPCR, CDC supports central cancer registries in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdictions, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, representing 97% of the U. S. population.

NPCR celebrated its 30th Anniversary

Collectively NCI SEER and CDC NPCR collect data for the entire U.S. population.


50th Anniversary of the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program

Updated: December 11, 2023