In 1990, RCW 70.54.230 made cancer a reportable condition in Washington and mandated
the Department of Health to establish a statewide cancer registry program. Under
this mandate, the Department established the Washington State Cancer Registry (WSCR)
in 1991. The registry is dedicated to fulfillment of the legislative intent "...to
establish a system to accurately monitor the incidence of cancer in the state of
Washington for the purposes of understanding, controlling, and reducing the occurrence
of cancer in this state." Since 1994, funding for WSCR has been provided, in part,
through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Program of Cancer
Registries. This program is designed to standardize data collection and provide
information for cancer prevention and control programs at the local, state, and
The cancer reporting rules (246-102 WAC) currently define reportable cancers or
conditions. These generally include the following: (a) any malignant neoplasm with
the exception of basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin other than genital
areas; (b) basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the external genital organs (vulva,
labia, clitoris, prepuce, penis, anus); (c) any cancer in situ (non-invasive) except
cancer in situ of the uterine cervix; (d) any benign (non-malignant) intracranial
or central nervous system tumor, and (e) certain hematopoietic conditions identified
as pre-malignant. Copies of the cancer reporting legislation and regulations are
Cancer case information is reported to the Washington State Cancer Registry from
a variety of reporting sources. These reporting sources include hospitals and other
health care facilities, pathology laboratories, ambulatory surgery centers, freestanding
radiation and oncology centers, medical clinics and health care providers who diagnose
and/or treat cancers or conditions that meet the criteria for reportability.
The general types of cancer information reported to the State Cancer Registry consists
of the following: (a) patient and facility demographics including confidential information;
(b) cancer identification; (c) staging or extent of disease information at the time
of diagnosis; (d) treatment information; (e) follow-up information including vital
status, date of last contact, and tumor status.
Outside of the Puget Sound region, cases are transmitted directly to the State Cancer
Registry. Case information is transmitted to the State Cancer Registry by means
of Secure File Transfer or limited access mechanism. Case information at the State
Registry remains in a restricted and highly confidential environment. Employees
at the State Cancer Registry have access only as needed to perform required duties.
The State Cancer Registry contracts with the Cancer Surveillance System (CSS) at
the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle to receive and perform quality
assurance activities on cases within the thirteen counties surrounding the Puget
Sound region, following the same restricted and confidential protocols described
above to insure individual confidentiality. These too are then transmitted to the
State Cancer Registry.
The State Cancer Registry is responsible for merging the data and finalizing the
statewide data set, conducting overall quality assurance activities in accordance
with national standards, and dissemination of cancer information to assist with
cancer prevention and control efforts statewide.
Washington State Cancer Incidence Data: Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Cancer Registry, released in January 2016.
Population Estimates: Washington State Office of Financial Management, released in March 2015.
Washington State Mortality Data: Washington State Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics, released in August 2014.
National Cancer Data are from SEER*Stat, public use file (see relevant year published report background and text at PDF Reports for which SEER*Stat version and public use file were used)
The wide variety of health care facilities who report cancer data in Washington,
their medical staffs, medical records personnel and especially cancer registrars,
whose participation and cooperation help to make the Washington State Cancer Registry
a tool in cancer control and prevention.
This work was funded in part by
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Cooperative Agreement #DP12-1205 DP003899-02 WA.
Data from the Cancer Surveillance System of Western Washington of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
are funded, in part, by Contract No. HHSN 261201300012I from the Surveillance, Epidemiology,
and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute with additional
support from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.