Cancer remains an under-recognized health condition throughout most of Africa, and improved surveillance systems for determining cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence of risk factors are badly needed. Mapping out areas where cancer is most prevalent is crucial and essential to allocating resources accordingly and effectively. A population-based cancer registry helps to reveal the burden of the disease in the country.

Currently, Tanzania does not have a national population-based cancer registry, it relies on hospital-based cancer registries and other centres that treat cancer across Tanzania.

What is a cancer registry?

A cancer registry is the routine and continuous collection of cancer-related information on the incidence, prevalence, mortality, diagnostic method, stage distribution and survival of those with cancer and aspects of the care received.

Governement of Tanzania strategy on cancer registry: The Governement of Tanzania National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2013 – 2022 aims to ensure collection, monitoring and reporting of national cancer data so as to facilitate cancer control interventions including establishing a population-based cancer registry, however, this has not been set up yet. The governement needs assistance from different players and stakeholders to achieve this.

Cancer registry involves:

  • Developing and updating a standard population-based cancer registration software and database for recording information on cancer patients;
  • Identifying and collecting information of cancer patients attending district hospitals;
  • Recording, updating and storing of the patient information on the database according to international standards;
  • Performing follow-up of cancer patients and updating information on the database; and
  • Undertaking analysis and providing reports on cancer trends.