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)


A bone sarcoma registry established by Dr. Ernest Codman at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the earliest registries established for a specific type of cancer

The first hospital-based cancer registry at Yale-New Haven Hospital was organized in New Haven, Connecticut


First population-based cancer registry in the United States established in Connecticut


The American College of Surgeons requires a cancer registry as a component of an approved cancer program


The U.S. National Cancer Act budgets monies to the National Cancer Institute for research, detection, and treatment of cancer


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


U.S. Public Law 102-515 establishes the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and is administered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Many state laws make cancer a reportable disease