American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

About the National Cancer Database

The National Cancer Database (NCDB), a joint program of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society, is a nationwide oncology outcomes database for more than 1,500 Commission-accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Some 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of cancer in the United States are captured at the institutional level and reported to the NCDB. The NCDB, begun in 1989, now contains approximately 34 million records from hospital cancer registries across the United States. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed. These data are used to explore trends in cancer care, to create regional and state benchmarks for participating hospitals, and to serve as the basis for quality improvement.

The NCDB maintains a number of Web-based data applications that have been developed to promote access to NCDB data. These tools are for use by CoC-accredited cancer programs as a means by which to evaluate and compare the cancer care delivered to patients diagnosed and/or treated at their facility with that provided at state, regional, and national cancer facilities.

Data elements are collected and submitted to the NCDB from CoC-accredited cancer program registries using nationally standardized data item and coding definitions, as specified in the CoC's Facility Oncology Registry Data Standards, and nationally standardized data transmission format specifications coordinated by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. This includes patient characteristics, cancer staging and tumor histological characteristics, type of first course treatment administered, and outcomes information.

The CoC and the NCDB maintain close working relationships with staff at other cancer surveillance and registry agencies and organizations. These include: