What is a Cancer Registry?

West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders operates a community-wide Cancer Registry, an information system designed to collect, manage and analyze data on persons diagnosed with cancer. The data– collected from our own cancer patients as well as those from Ascension Borgess Hospital and Bronson Methodist Hospital–is reported to our state Cancer Registry—as required by law—to assist in health care decision-making and formation of public policy. Confidentiality of patient identifying information and related medical data is strictly maintained at our Cancer Registry. Comprehensive data are analyzed and published without any patient identifiers.

Why maintain a Cancer Registry?

Maintaining a Cancer Registry ensures that health officials have accurate and timely information, while ensuring the availability of data for treatment, research and education purposes.

  • Local, state and national cancer agencies use registry data in defined areas to make important public health decisions that maximize the effectiveness of limited public health funds. For example, they can determine the best places for screening programs.
  • Cancer Registries are valuable research tools for those interested in the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
  • Fundamental research on the epidemiology of cancer is initiated using the accumulated data.
  • Lifetime follow-up is an important aspect of the Cancer Registry. Current patient follow-up serves as a reminder to doctors and patients to schedule regular clinical examinations and provides accurate survival information.