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Home > Publications > Cancer Program Guidelines > Chapter 3

Cancer Program Guidelines

Chapter 3: Cancer Data Management and Registry Operations

Guideline I
A cancer registry will be maintained to meet and preferably exceed the minimum requirements of the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

A cancer registry is an important program component for the evaluation of cancer care.  Accurate and timely collection of cancer patient data with appropriate follow-up is required by the Commission on Cancer. The cancer registry contributes to administrative and programmatic planning, patient treatment planning, research, staging, and continuity of care through data retrieval and monitoring of outcomes through annual analysis, and long-term follow-up.


  1. Case abstracting is performed or supervised by a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR).
  2. The institution’s Cancer Committee monitors the activities of the cancer registry.
  3. An accurate and current database is maintained.
  4. All standards of the Commission on Cancer are rigidly followed.
    1. Data submission to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) and all other required sources are accurate and timely.
    2. Continuous quality improvement of the registry and data is a regular function of the registry and is documented.
  5. Data are reported regularly to the medical and hospital staff members.
    1. The data are regularly, at least annually, presented to the Cancer Committee, which assures the quality of the registry.
    2. The Cancer Committee also receives an annual overview for each calendar year, which may occur as part of an annual report.
  6. Cancer registry data are confidential.
    1. Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulations is assured.
    2. Legitimate usage of the registry data for patient management is assured and provided in a timely fashion.
    3. Usage of the registry data for other purposes is encouraged, but confidentiality must be maintained.
    4. Research use of the data should be approved by an Institutional Review Board.


Please note: While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the publications, addresses, phone numbers, and websites, ACCC cannot ensure that this information has not changed. Web addresses, in particular, change frequently. If you find that a web address has changed, try to locate the publication name through an online search engine.

  1. American College of Surgeons. Commission on Cancer: Cancer Program Standards 2009.  Available at:
    Phone: 312.202.5000 or 800.621.4111.
  2. National Cancer Registrars Association.  NCRA Publications. Phone: 703.299.6640.

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