The California Cancer Registry


Responsibilities and Resources for California Physicians

Cancer is a Reportable Disease

California law requires every cancer diagnosis made in this state to be reported to the California Cancer Registry (CCR) of the Department of Health Services (DHS). The exceptions are basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin other than on the genitalia, carcinoma in situ of the cervix, and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade III (CIN III).

Physicians are required to report only those cancers which are diagnosed or treated in the office setting, and the patient does not enter a hospital or treatment facility. Physicians are required to complete a Confidential Morbidity Report Form, and send it to the regional cancer registry as shown on this map. (Health and Safety Code Section 103885.)

In addition to the reporting requirements, the law grants DHS or its designated representative the authority to access cancer-related information in patient records. Physicians also are required to inform their patients of the legal reporting requirements for cancer. Patient information sheets are available from the regional registries, or from the CCR at (916) 327-4663.

The Importance of Reporting
Cancers which do not require hospitalization tend to differ from those seen in hospital treatment facilities. Reporting these cases is critical for the accuracy and integrity of California's cancer data. You may obtain more information on cancer reporting requirements from your Regional Registry, or from DHS. Information also is available from the California Medical Association's "FAX On Demand Service" at 1-800-592-4CMA. Ask for document #1501.

Resources for Physicians and Patients
The CCR is one of the most prestigious cancer registries in the world, one which serves as an important resource for physicians and health researchers involved in the search for cancer causes, cures and prevention. The statewide registry is based in Sacramento, while eitht regional cancer registries collect and process data for the ten reporting regions shown on the map. In addition to cancer incidence and mortality data, the CCR provides data for:

• biomedical and epidemiological research
• monitoring cancer incidence and stage
• developing and targeting resources
• evaluating treatment alternatives
• measuring the success of cancer screening programs.

Because of the size of California's population, and its racial and cultural diversity, the CCR offers unique opportunities to assess cancer risk factors, and stage at diagnosis among ethnic groups.

Among the kinds of information available from the CCR:

• State, regional and county cancer incidence and mortality rates
• Online cancer incidence data and reports at www.ccrcal.org
• Distribution of specific types of cancers
• Responses to community questions and concerns about cancer
• Data for studies in special areas of interest

The following chart is one example of the kinds of data available from CCR. It illustrates the changes over time in the incidence of invasive prostate cancer. The changes in incidence are attributed mainly to changes in screening level.

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