Cancer Surveillance System

About the Cancer Surveillance System

The Cancer Surveillance System (CSS) was established in 1974 under contract with the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. Its mission is to provide high quality data on the incidence, treatment, and follow-up on all newly-diagnosed cancers (except non-melanoma skin cancers) occurring in residents of 13 counties in northwest Washington State. Prior to 1992, reporting of cancer data to the CSS was accomplished through voluntary agreements with hospitals, radiation and surgery centers, and pathology laboratories. As of 1992, cancer diagnoses were required by state law (R.C.W. 70.54.230, 70.54.250, 70.54.260, 70.54.270) to be reported to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) for the purposes of understanding, controlling, and reducing the occurrence of cancer in our state. The reporting rules for cancer are described in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), Chapter 246.102. This legislation thus created the Washington State Cancer Registry (WSCR). The DOH designated the CSS as the contractor responsible for receiving abstracts on cancer cases from health care facilities within the CSS reporting region. CSS performs quality control and case consolidation on the cancer information prior to submitting it to WSCR for inclusion in the state registry database.

Data on cancer cases are obtained by the CSS through hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, pathology laboratories, radiotherapy centers, selected clinician offices, and through review of death certificates.

The counties included the CSS reporting area are Clallam, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom. The CSS reporting area has a population of approximately 4 million people (2000 Census), 75% of whom reside in King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties. The racial distribution of the CSS area is as follows: White: 80.4%; Black: 4.2%; Asian: 7.2%; Native American: 1.4%; Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.5%; Other: 6.3%. Approximately 5% of the population is self-identified as being of Hispanic origin.

The CSS Management Team

Principal Investigator: Stephen M. Schwartz, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator: Christopher I. Li, MD, PhD, MPH
Director of Information Services: Mary Potts, RHIA, CPA, CTR
Field Operations Supervisor: Jennifer Hafterson, CTR