The National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) was commenced by the Indian Council
of Medical Research (ICMR) with a network of cancer registries across the country
in December 1981.
The main objectives of this Programme were:
1. To generate reliable data on the magnitude and patterns of cancer
2. Undertake epidemiological studies based on results of registry data
3. Help in designing, planning, monitoring and evaluation of cancer control activities
under the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP)
4. Develop training programmes in cancer registration and epidemiology.
With these objectives three Population Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs) at Bangalore,
Chennai and Mumbai and three Hospital Based Cancer Registries (HBCRs) at Chandigarh,
Dibrugarh and Thiruvananthapuram were commenced from 1 January 1982. The PBCRs have
gradually expanded over the years and as of now there are 23 PBCRs under the NCRP
The NCRP is a long term activity of the ICMR and the office of the NCRP is located
in Bangalore. It is assisted by a Steering Committee and a Monitoring Committee
that meets periodically to oversee and guide its functioning. A review meeting is
held annually where the Principal Investigators and staff of the registries present
results and participate in the discussions. The meeting is preceded by a workshop.
Cancer registration in India is active and staff of all registries visit hospitals,
pathology laboratories and all other sources of registration of cancer cases on
a routine basis. Death certificates are also scrutinized from the municipal corporation
units and information collected on all cases where cancer is mentioned on the death
The information that is collected on a core form that is computer ready is subsequently
entered in to a computer. Over the years, the registries and the office of the NCRP
have used modern advances in electronic information technology to not only enter
the data but also help in specific activities that involves checking of the data,
verification of duplicates and matching mortality and incidence records. Electronic
processing of data is now being tried out in some registries.
Data quality and completeness of coverage is a prime requisite for good cancer registration.
This is ensured to the best possible extent by the NCRP.
Over the years, the staff from registries and the NCRP have benefited from both
short term and long term training fellowships in established institutions in developed
countries. This has helped the working of the cancer registries and also to evolve
epidemiological studies. Data from the NCRP registries is regularly published in
succeeding volumes of Cancer Incidence in Five Continents published by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer - the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization