The Editors (IARC)

  • Freddie Bray
  • Aude Bardot
  • Murielle Colombet
  • Les Mery
  • Marion Piñeros
  • Isabelle Soerjomataram
  • Ariana Znaor
  • Jacques Ferlay
  • Maria Fernan (CI5 Secretariat)

The Editors (IACR)

  • Joanne F. Aitken (Australia)
  • Sultan Eser (Türkiye)
  • Jaume Galceran (Spain)
  • Marc Hagenimana (Rwanda)
  • Tomohiro Matsuda (Japan)
  • Young-Joo Won (Republic of Korea)
  • Esther de Vries (Colombia)
  • Charles Wiggins (USA)


Cancer registry

The cancer registry has a pivotal role in cancer control. Its primary function is the maintenance of a file or register of all cancer cases occurring in a defined population in which the personal particulars of cancer patients and the clinical and pathological characteristics of the cancers, collected continuously and systematically from various data sources, are documented. The registry analyses and interprets such data periodically and provides information on the incidence and characteristics of specific cancers in various segments of the resident population and on temporal variations in incidence. Such information is the primary resource not only for epidemiological research on cancer determinants but also for planning and evaluating health services for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.


Incidence is the number of new cases arising in a given period in a specified population. This information is collected routinely by cancer registries. It can be expressed as an absolute number of cases per year or as a rate per 100 000 people per year. The rate provides an approximation of the average risk of developing a cancer.

Population at risk

The population at risk includes all individuals susceptible to a specific cancer. It is defined on the basis of demographic variables, such as place of residence, sex, age group, and (where appropriate) ethnicity.

Crude rate

Data on incidence are often presented as rates. For a specific tumour and population, a crude rate is calculated by dividing the number of new cancers observed during a given time period by the corresponding number of people in the population at risk. For cancer, the result is usually expressed as an annual rate per 100 000 people at risk.

ASR (age-standardized rate or age-adjusted rate)

An age-standardized rate (ASR) is a summary measure; it is the rate that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardization is necessary when comparing several populations that differ with respect to age structure, because age has a powerful influence on the risk of cancer. The most frequently used standard population is the World standard population. The calculated incidence rate is then called the World Standardized incidence Rate. It is also expressed per 100 000. The World standard population used in this application is as proposed by Segi (1960) and modified for the first volume of the CI5 series by Doll and al. (1996).

Age distribution of the world standard population used for age standardization in CI5

Age groupWorld
0–412 000
5–910 000
10–149 000
15–199 000
20–248 000
25–298 000
30–346 000
35–396 000
40–446 000
45–496 000
50–545 000
55–594 000
60–644 000
65–693 000
70–742 000
75–791 000
Total100 000


Segi M (1960). Cancer mortality for selected sites in 24 countries (1950–57). Sendai, Japan: Department of Public Health, Tohoku University of Medicine.

Doll R, Payne P, Waterhouse JAH, editors (1966). Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, Vol. I. Geneva: Union Internationale Contre le Cancer.

Cumulative rate

Cumulative incidence is the probability of individuals developing the disease during a specified period. For cancer, it is expressed as the number of newborn children (out of 100 or 1000) who would be expected to develop a particular cancer before the age of 75 years (or 80 or 85 years) if they had the rates of cancer observed in the period, in the absence of competing causes. Like the age-standardized rate, it enables comparisons between populations of different age structures.

Standard error

The standard error of a rate is a measure of the sampling variability of the rate.