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Cancer Registration in Developing Countries

Population-based cancer registries collect information on all cases of cancer in a defined geographic area, to estimate cancer incidence rates in the general population by variables such as gender, age, cancer site, and stage of disease. The establishment of cancer registries is a critical first step in public health planning, assessment of facility and manpower needs, research, and establishment of effective cancer control programs.

NCI regularly sponsors participation of personnel from developing countries at courses on cancer registration conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Exit Disclaimer in Lyon, France and at Emory University's School of Public Health in Atlanta, Georgia.

In cooperation with the Middle East Cancer Consortium, the NCI has sponsored cancer registry training programs in Bethlehem, West Bank; Larnaca, Cyprus: Izmir, Turkey; and Amman, Jordan. This has resulted in various publications, including the NCI-sponsored MECC Monograph.

In recent years, training programs have also been held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Shanghai and Beijing, China; Seoul, Korea; Gangtok, India; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Trivandrum, India. The course in Bolivia was attended by participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru, the course in Ljubljana was for registrars from Slovenia and neighboring countries, and the course in Nairobi was for registrars from various sub-Saharan African countries. NCI also sponsors participants from several developing countries for the annual meeting of the International Association of Cancer Registries. In addition to registry training, NCI has provided limited assistance to develop infrastructure at cancer registries in Kenya, Nigeria, Swaziland, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Senior staff of the NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program are part of an international team that has updated the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O) Exit Disclaimer. NCI partnered with IARC on the revisions. The third edition (ICD-O-3) was field tested in several areas of the world and implemented for cases diagnosed in North America beginning January 1, 2001. Documents prepared for ICD-O-3 have been made available on the SEER web site and have been downloaded by researchers throughout the world.  More information, and the ICD- O-3 training module, are available here: Training materials are also available on the SEER training web site,