Population-based cancer registries: a gateway to improved surveillance of non-communicable diseases

16 January, 2020

A new editorial on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development shows how it’s being used as a new way to deliver capacity-building in cancer surveillance, which is essential in reducing the burden of cancer in Lower and Middle Income Countries.


Timely and accurate data on health enable policymakers to make informed decisions that can reduce the burden and suffering from disease. Yet many LMICs are not able to adequately collect the health indicators necessary to track progress in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at present, and a major investment in primary data collection is needed. We argue that cancer surveillance, with an established history of international standards and best practices, represents a feasible entry point in the development of surveillance programmes for NCDs. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has served to support population-based cancer registries (PBCR) since its inception over 50 years ago. Based on this longstanding experience and collaboration with PBCR worldwide, IARC and other key partners implemented the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR, http://gicr.iarc.fr) as a new way to deliver capacity-building in cancer surveillance. We describe some of the critical aspects of the GICR and the prospects of a step-change in the quality and use of cancer data over the next years. Ultimately, the decision on how to proceed resides with countries. The cancer and NCD burden will not be tackled without committed and sustainable action by governments.

The article, by Les Mery and Freddie Bray of IARC, is open access: https://ecancer.org/en/journal/editorial/95-population-based-cancer-regi...

HIFA profile: Katie Foxall is Head of Publishing at eCancer, Bristol, UK. katie AT ecancer.org