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December 1, 1989

A Plea for a National Cancer Registry

Author Affiliations

New Smyrna Beach, Fla

New Smyrna Beach, Fla

JAMA. 1989;262(21):2995. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430210033012

To the Editor. —  Hardly a day of a week goes by without a scary report by the media that some new process, chemical, or diet may increase the incidence of cancer. Diet, radon, radioactive waste, chemical dump sites, extra low frequency/nonionizing radiation from electric transmission lines, and ionizing radiation from nuclear power plants are a few of the alleged producers of cancer, and yet we do not know the true and possibly changing incidence of cancer in the United States.Facts and Figures, published by the American Cancer Society, provides the best estimates of national figures. This report relies on data collected by the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. This consists of data from 11 population-based registries, only 1 of which is statewide, ie, Connecticut. The latter state has maintained an excellent tumor registry since 1935 with financial help from SEER. Readers of Facts