Frequently Asked Questions about Cancer and the Cancer Registry
- What is cancer?
- Although we use the word cancer, we are really talking about many
diseases, or cancers, which are different from each other. Cancer is
a group of about 100 diseases characterized by uncontrolled
growth and spread of abnormal cells. If the spread is not controlled,
it can result in death.
- What causes cancer?
- Cancer is caused by both external (chemicals, radiation, and viruses)
and internal (hormones, immune conditions, and inherited mutations)
factors. The factors may work together or in sequence to start or
promote a cancer. Ten years to a lifetime may pass between
exposures or mutations and detectable cancer.
- Who gets cancer?
- Anyone. Since the occurrence of cancer increases as people age,
most cases appear in middle-aged or older adults. In the US, one out of
every two men and one out of every three women will get some form of
cancer in their lifetime. Four out of every 10 North Carolinians will have
some type of cancer in their lifetime. It is a very common disease.
- What is a cancer registry?
- A cancer registry is a cancer information center. Registries
collect data about new cancer cases, cancer treatment and
cancer deaths. There are three general types of cancer registries:
hospital-based registries collect information about cancer patients at
their hospital; special registries collect information on one type of
cancer, like brain cancer; and Central Cancer Registries collect
information about cancer patients in a particular area, like the state of
- What is the Central Cancer Registry?
- The North Carolina Central Cancer Registry (CCR) is the cancer
data center for the population of North Carolina.
- Who gets reported to the Central Cancer Registry?
- All cancer cases diagnosed in North Carolina are reported to the CCR.
Reporting newly diagnosed cancer patients is required by state law.
- How does a person get reported?
- Usually the hospital where a patient was treated reports the information
to the CCR, but laboratories, clinics, and doctors' offices also report new
- Is the information kept confidential?
- Absolutely. The confidentiality of the information is required by state law.
Names or identifiers are not released in our reports.
Occasionally, with special permission, names are given to
cancer researchers who promise to keep them confidential and use the
information to try to save lives. You could be asked to participate, with
your doctor's permission.
- Why do we need a Central Cancer Registry?
- The CCR has many uses for health care providers, researchers, health
planners and policy makers, and the average citizen. We respond to
questions and concerns, publish facts about cancer in North
Carolina, monitor cancer trends by looking for problems in specific
groups or communities, and promote and conduct cancer
research to find causes and cures that may save lives in the future.
- How can you contact the Central Cancer Registry?
North Carolina Central Cancer Registry
State Center for Health Statistics
1908 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1908
Page last updated March 09, 2012