Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Cancer Registry of Greater California

The Cancer Registry of Greater California’s mission is to capture timely, high quality data from all cancer patients diagnosed in 48 of California’s 58 counties, and to utilize this information for cancer research to improve health outcomes and reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.

Program Director(s)

Rosemary Cress
Marta Induni

Program Site



A Study of Primary and Secondary Behavior Practiced among 5-Year Colorectal Cancer Survivors.

The purpose of this study was to survey 5-year colorectal cancer survivors, identified through the CRGC, about current health habits, such as exercise, nutrition, adherence with recommended medical follow-up; psychosocial influences on health practices, including barriers to practicing healthy behaviors, social support, perceived risk of recurrence; and demographic characteristics.

Environmental Risk Factors for Lung Cancer among Latina Women

The goal of this pilot project is to evaluate environmental exposures among likely-nonsmoking female Hispanic lung cancer patients identified through the CRGC.

Research on Prostate Cancer in African American Men: Defining the Roles of Genetics, Immunity and Access to Care: the “RESPOND” Study

The goal of this project is to survey prostate cancer patients resident in central California through the CRGC and to collect saliva and tumor blocks as part of a multi-state collaborative study.

SEER Adolescents and Young Adults Patterns of Care and Feasibility Study

The goal of the Adolescent and Young Adults Health Experience of Care Study was to develop and test the feasibility of a study examining the quality of care and related outcomes among adolescents and young adults in the first 14 months following their cancer diagnosis. Patients were identified and surveyed through the CRGC.

SEER-Linked Virtual Repository

The goal of this study is to utilize the Cancer Registry of Greater California to serve as a resource for biospecimen research, by locating patients with biospecimens in pathology laboratories, retrieving those biospecimens and annotating them with information from the registry.

Validation of PROMIS in Diverse Cancer Populations

This study contacted cancer survivors identified through the CRGC and surveyed them about quality of life and quality of cancer care. The study evaluated the usefulness of PROMIS item banks in diverse cancer patient populations and in clinical settings.

Here's How We're Making a Difference

Collecting Cancer Data to Improve Care Across All Populations

Each year in California, nearly 10,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer, 1400 with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and more than 2,000 with myeloma. Through the SEER Patterns of Care Studies, PHI's Cancer Register of Greater California (CRGC) collects information from physicians and medical records to supplement and verify routine cancer registry data on these types of cancers—including patients diagnosed across the 49 counties that make up the CRGC catchment area, and their physicians. The CRGC assesses just over 103,410 new cancer cases each year from across 49 counties. The CRGC processes over 471,000 pathology reports and performs quality control on over 67,257 incoming cases each year. In 2017 alone, CRGC identified and added 11,082 new cases to the statewide database in physicians’ offices that were not seen in the other reporting sources. 

The SEER Patterns of Care Studies describe, characterize, and compare practice patterns and treatments provided for cancer in different geographic areas of the US and are conducted annually under a Congressional directive. Thanks to the CRGC's work, the collected data will be consolidated at the National Cancer Institute with data from other SEER registries across the US, allowing researchers to find patterns of treatment and identify any disparities by age, geography, or race and ethnicity. This information is then used to inform providers of cancer care and for further research into reasons for disparities.

In 2017, CRGC received a silver (second place) award for meeting 13 out of 14 Data Quality Marker Indicators in their most recent data submission to the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program. This award reflects the dedication and hard work of CRGC staff across the state.

Using New Mapping Techniques to Identify Elevated Breast Cancer Rates

Research by the Public Health Institute’s (PHI) California Breast Cancer Mapping Project (CBCMP), a project of the California Environmental Health Tracking Program (now Tracking California), pinpointed four previously unidentified areas of California that have invasive breast cancer rates substantially higher than the state average. As opposed to traditional breast cancer surveillance, which relies on aggregate county-level data, the CBCMP developed and implemented a protocol to map breast cancer rates within and across county boundaries by looking at data (obtained from the Cancer Registry of Greater California, or CRGC) by census tract. This identified the four areas of concern, or groups of census tracts that showed invasive breast cancer rates 10-20 percent higher than the state average between 2000-2008. The four “areas of concern” encompass sections of Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as parts of the north and south Bay Area. Since these areas span sections of multiple counties, they had never been identified by traditional county-level surveillance as having elevated breast cancer rates.