Cancer Surveillance Program

The Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance Program (CSP) is the population-based cancer registry for Los Angeles County. Since 1972, the CSP has routinely collected and analyzed information on all new cancer diagnoses made among residents of the County. The CSP is a member of the statewide population-based cancer surveillance system, the California Cancer Registry (CCR). It is also part of the National Cancer Institute-funded Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results SEER program. The CSP is administered by the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. With the large and diverse population of Los Angeles County, the CSP has served as a resource for many epidemiological studies of cancer in Los Angeles County.

Program Summary

The Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance Program (CSP) is the population-based cancer registry for Los Angeles County. It identifies and obtains information on all new cancer diagnoses made among residents of Los Angeles County. The CSP was organized in 1970 and operates within the administrative structure of the University of Southern California (USC) School of Medicine. The CSP was initially a component of a laboratory-based viral oncology program and, as such, was part of the National Viral Cancer Program. It was developed with the voluntary cooperation of hospitals and other institutions, clinics, and medical laboratories equipped to diagnose cancer in Los Angeles County. By 1972, the registry became essentially population-based and complete incidence data for Los Angeles County are available from that year onward. To date, the CSP master file contains over 1.7 million records and some 41,000 incident cancers are added annually.

Since 1981, the CSP has been the designated legal agent of Los Angeles County for collecting information on all new cancer cases occurring among County residents for the purpose of monitoring cancer incidence patterns and trends. In 1987, it became the regional registry for Los Angeles County for the new California Cancer Registry. The CSP is one of eight such regional registries providing, as a group, statewide coverage. In September 1992, the CSP became the largest registry of the National Cancer Institute-funded Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. The consortium of 18 population-based SEER registries provides the federal government with a “snapshot” of cancer incidence and survival across the United States.

The CSP is one of the most productive cancer registries in the world, in terms of scientific contributions toward understanding the demographic patterns and the etiology of specific cancers. The CSP has a bibliography of more than 3300 publications contributed to scientific journals. The registry supports a large ongoing body of research funded mainly by the National Cancer Institute.