The Virginia Cancer Registry (VCR) is part of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Office of Family Health Services (OFHS), Division of Population Health Data. The VCR is a statewide registry of data on individuals diagnosed or treated in Virginia or Virginia residents who received cancer care out of state.

Click on the following links to learn more about the Virginia Cancer Registry:

Information collected by the VCR

How VCR cancer information is used

How confidential data are protected

State laws and regulations regarding cancer surveillance

CDC cancer surveillance funding of VCR


Information collected by the VCR

The VCR collects demographic information about cancer patients, as well as diagnostic and treatment information about their cancers. Demographic information includes the following information about the patient:

  • age
  • sex
  • race
  • ethnic background
  • residence address
  • occupation

Diagnostic information includes:

  • type of cancer diagnosed
  • location of the cancer in the body
  • the size of the cancer
  • the date of cancer diagnosis
  • the spread of the disease at the time of diagnosis

Treatment information includes:

  • date of treatment
  • types of treatment, such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy

How VCR cancer information is used

Data from the VCR provide a description of the cancer burden in Virginia, including what types and how many cancers occur and how different demographic groups and geographic areas are affected. This information is use for program planning, cancer research, education about cancer risk factors and screening recommendations, and for assisting the public with cancer inquiries. Cancer data from the VCR are used by:

  • Public health officials who decide where to target cancer prevention and control efforts;
  • Citizens of Virginia with questions about cancer occurrence in different areas of the state;
  • Cancer prevention and control agencies , such as the American Cancer Society;
  • Researchers who conduct studies regarding the occurrence, diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

The registry produces annual statistical reports about cancer in Virginia, as well as more in-depth reports on selected sites of cancer.

How confidential data are protected

Patient identifying information is necessary to ensure that the occurrence of cancer in Virginia is not misrepresented. This could happen by over-counting patients reported from multiple medical care facilities. The protection of confidential information maintained in the VCR database is a priority for the VCR. The Virginia Cancer Registry staff takes measures to protect the privacy of cancer patients and the confidentiality of the data, as mandated by the Code of Virginia. Patient and provider information in the registry database are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, can be released only by the authority of the Commissioner of Health for surveillance or research projects approved by the agency’s Institutional Review Board, and may never be published in identifiable form. Should the Commissioner of Health approve the release of such information for a specific research purpose, the recipient must agree also to protect the information and follow a formal data use policy or face a sizable penalty for unauthorized disclosure.

State laws and regulations regarding cancer surveillance

From the Code of Virginia:
§32.1-70, §32.1-70.2….. Authorizes cancer reporting, indicates who must report, and states the purpose of the Virginia Cancer Registry (see also §32.1-41)
§32.1-71, §32.1-71.01… Confidentiality and privacy protections (see also §32.1-41)

§32.1-38 ……………….. Immunity from liability for reporting

§32.1-71.02 ……………. Patient notification

§32.1-40 ……………….. Authority of Commissioner to review records

§32.1-41 ……………….. Authority of Commissioner to release data for studies

From the Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control:

12 VAC 5-90-10 ……….. Definitions: cancer, clinic, medical care facility, physician, independent path lab, surveillance.

12 VAC 5-90-150 ………. Authority

12 VAC 5-90-160 ………. Reportable Cancers and Tumors

12 VAC 5-90-170 ………. Those required to Report

12 VAC 5-90-170 ………. Data to be Reported

CDC cancer surveillance funding of VCR

VCR is supported in part by cooperative agreement number U58/DP000780 awarded by the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fund NPCR.


For information regarding the Edit Version 16E File please contact Larry Kirkland: larry.kirkland@vdh.virginia.gov

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