News & Announcements

Missouri Cancer Registry joins Department of Public Health 

July 11, 2023

The Missouri Cancer Registry (MCR) has joined the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Missouri.

Under the leadership of Iris Zachary, Ph.D., the MCR cancer surveillance team curates and analyzes cancer incidence across the state. Dr. Zachary oversees the registry, which is a local and national resource for population-based studies including causes, treatments and outcomes in patients with cancer.

The registry has been collecting complete statewide surveillance data since 1996. It provides population-based cancer incidence for local cancer control and prevention programs as well as other national and international programs, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and the International Association of Cancer Registries.

The MCR is an important source of information for health care providers, public health officials and administrators. The data collected, tracked and analyzed through the MCR is useful in describing cancer patterns in the population, discovering causes of cancer, and planning programs for people affected by cancer.

The MCR collects demographic, tumor and treatment information on more than 37,000 new cases of invasive cancer diagnosed among Missouri residents annually. The MCR database contains nearly 1.4 million invasive cancers diagnosed in Missouri from 1996 through 2022 — it also includes more than 300,000 invasive cases diagnosed before 1996.

The MCR is a collaborative partnership between the University of Missouri and the State of Missouri. It is funded by the CDC through the National Program of Cancer Registries and a research support contract by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.

Cancer registries provide reliable cancer data essential for planning and monitoring cancer control programs, disease patterns, screening and prevention and other types of research related to tumor characteristics and treatment. In addition to maintaining a statewide cancer surveillance system, the MCR participates in research designed to prevent and reduce the cancer burden among Missouri residents.

Dr. Zachary said the move will provide numerous benefits, including opportunities for multi-disciplinary collaboration between public health researchers, scientists, and clinicians as well as strong connections between cancer data, analysis and public health research and policy. She said the MCR will continue to work with research partners in the MU School of Medicine, partners in engineering, other academic units in the University of Missouri System, and organizations and individuals within the community. 

“Joining the Department of Public Health will be a transformative step for the MCR,” Dr. Zachary said. “It will enable us to expand our influence, foster and expand new and existing multi-disciplinary collaborations and studies, and drive innovation in the field of cancer surveillance, cancer control, survivorship and prevention.” 

The MCR is a valuable resource for cancer research, cancer control and prevention in Missouri. The move to the Department of Public Health will ensure that the MCR continues to lead and expand cancer surveillance and research.

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Iris Zachary

Iris Zachary

Missouri Cancer Registry and Research Center Director and Associate Research Professor