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BC Cancer Registry

The BC Cancer Registry is a population-based registry of all cancers diagnosed in British
Columbia residents.

The BC Cancer Registry collects data and generates cancer statistics on the BC population for the purpose of monitoring the burden of cancer in the province.

Specifically, it provides data for cancer control. That is, it provides ongoing information on the scope of the cancer problem, information to plan programs to reduce mortality and morbidity from cancer, monitors the effectiveness of such programs, and provides information on the size of the cancer problem in the future to aid in future planning.

It also serves as a source of information for research. Research based on population registries avoids one source of potential bias due to non-representative participation and is of better quality than research that uses non-population-based sources.

The BC Cancer Registry has been in existence since 1969, and has been maintained at the BC Cancer Agency since 1980. It contains personal and demographic information as well as diagnosis and death information on all cases of cancer diagnosed to BC residents.


Our main functions are:

  • produce BC provincial cancer statistics (see below about data sources for this section of statistics)
  • responsible for the strategic component of the BC Cancer Registry
  • support evaluating the quality and outcomes of cancer care
  • support BCCA disease specific outcome units, research and programs such as screening, radiation oncology and surgical oncology
  • a data request service for cancer information
  • oversee the data integration of multiple BCCA databases
  • application development for data capture and reporting

The BC Cancer Agency is authorized through the BC Health Act (Section 9) and the BC Cancer Agency Research Information Regulation to operate the Cancer Registry for cancer surveillance and research.
Confidentiality and security of personal information is protected via the BC Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act (FOIPPA).


Use of the Cancer Registry for Surveillance

The BC Cancer Registry contributes data to monitor cancer incidence and mortality in British Columbia (see Facts and Figures), Canada (see Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014), North America (The North American Association of Central Cancer Registries), and the world (International Agency for Research on Cancer). 

In British Columbia, BC Cancer Registry statistics are used to monitor trends and regional differences in cancer incidence and mortality, to project the numbers of new cancer cases for planning of cancer treatment facilities and regional cancer care, to assess future workload demands, to evaluate access to care, to determine the success of treatment, and to measure the effectiveness of provincial screening programs.

Use of the Cancer Registry for Research

Use of the Cancer Registry for research is authorized by the Health Act. Access to registry information for research is allowed only with approval by an accredited review board, only with BC Cancer Agency oversight, and only under conditions of use that comply with FOIPPA.

Researchers wishing to access the registry for research should email Cancer Surveillance & Outcomes in Population Oncology at for application forms and information on conditions of use.

In British Columbia, BC Cancer Registry data have been used for many studies of risks of cancer, including environmental risks, occupational risks, and genetic susceptibility. In the past ten years, studies of childhood leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and occupational cancer risks have been undertaken in BC using the registry.

BC Cancer Registry data have also been used for national and international studies of risks of cancer. 

The BC Cancer Registry would like to thank BC hospitals, pathologists and other members of the medical profession who have submitted data for their ongoing active support of the registry.

Thank you to BC Vital Statistics Agency for continued assistance with death notifications.

And we also wish to acknowledge and thank all staff of the BC Cancer Registry and Cancer Surveillance & Outcomes Unit in Population Oncology for their commitment to accurate and timely data collection and for maintaining the data integrity of the database.

Reporting guidelines


NAACCR Certification Results on Quality, Completeness and Timeliness of Data by Diagnosis Year

NAACCR - Criteria and Standards for Eligibility Registry Certification

Cancer clusters

Reported disease clusters of any kind, including suspected cancer clusters, are investigated by epidemiologists (scientists who study the frequency, distribution, causes and control of diseases in populations). 

Epidemiologists use their knowledge of diseases, environmental science, lifestyle factors and biostatistics to try to determine whether a suspected cluster represents a true excess of cancer cases.

This section demonstrates the magnitude and effects of cancer in the BC population through findings on cancer incidence (new cases), mortality (cancer deaths), incidence and mortality rates, age standardization rates, regional statistics, trends, projections and survival statistics. Data used to compile these statistics was obtained from the BC Cancer Registry and the BC Vital Statistics Agency.

Annual reports

Annual reports

BC Cancer Registry 2016 Annual Report.

With the growth and aging of British Columbia’s population as well as improvements in survival for many cancer types, the population of cancer survivors in BC is increasing. The 2016 BC Cancer Registry Annual Report provides important data to characterize this group of individuals to enable the planning of survivor programs and services that this population may require. This year’s Annual Report also includes short features of recently initiated and completed research projects that utilize data from the BC Cancer Registry.

Previous annual reports

BC Cancer Registry 2014 Annual Report. Special Focus: HPV-Associated Cancers in British Columbia

This year's annual report includes a brief look at HPV-associated cancers in British Columbia. HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a group of more than 150 related viruses. Although infection with HPV is often harmless, infection with some types of HPV can lead to cancer and other health problems. Although cancer rates in British Columbia have been largely stable or declining in recent years, the rates of some HPV-associated cancers are increasing in our province underscoring the importance of prevention efforts for these cancers. The 2014 Annual Report also contains information on some of the diverse projects which have used BC Cancer Registry data over the past few years. 

BC Cancer Registry 2013 Annual Report: Special Focus: The Future of Cancer in British Columbia

The special focus of this report is the future burden of cancer. While BC has lower rates of new cancers compared to the rest of Canada, the inevitable dynamics of a growing population and a greater proportion of older people choosing BC as home, imply that this province can expect to see a steady increase in the number of new cancer diagnoses each year. We predict that in 2027 there will be almost 35,000 new diagnoses of cancer, up 45% from the 23,829 men and women diagnosed with cancer in 2011. An increase of this magnitude is not easily accommodated given the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of cancer care today. It is important that we anticipate these increases and plan accordingly.


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SOURCE: BC Cancer Registry ( )
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