National Cancer Institute Home at the National Institutes of Health |

What is Cancer Surveillance?

Cancer surveillance provides a quantitative portrait of cancer and its determinants in a defined population. The core functions of cancer surveillance are the measurement of cancer incidence, morbidity, survival, and mortality for persons with cancer. It also includes the assessment of genetic predisposition, environmental and behavioral risk factors, screening practices, and the quality of care from prevention through palliation. Cancer surveillance tells us where we are in the effort to reduce the cancer burden and also generates the observations that form the basis for cancer research and interventions for cancer prevention and control.1

To contact the Surveillance Research Program, see the Contact Us page.

1From the Futures Report, September 2001, a collaboration among the National Cancer Institute, the National Center for Health Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.