Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Globalization and Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research

Cancer registries in four provinces in Turkey: a case study

Frances A Stillman1*, Michelle R Kaufman1, Naseeb Kibria1, Sultan Eser2, Mark Spires1 and Yusuf Pustu3

Author Affiliations

1 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

2 Izmir Cancer Registry, Izmir, Turkey

3 New Hope in Health Foundation (SUVAK), Ankara, Turkey

For all author emails, please log on.

Globalization and Health 2012, 8:34  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-34

Published: 30 October 2012



The burden of cancer affects all countries; while high-income countries have the capacity and resources to establish comprehensive cancer control programs, low and middle-income countries have limited resources to develop such programs. This paper examines factors associated with the development of cancer registries in four provinces in Turkey. It looks at the progress made by these registries, the challenges they faced, and the lessons learned. Other countries with similar resources can benefit from the lessons identified in this case study.


A mix of qualitative case study methods including key informant interviews, document review and questionnaires was used.


This case study showed that surveillance systems that accurately report current cancer-related data are essential components of a country’s comprehensive cancer control program. At the initial stages, Turkey established one cancer registry with international support, which was used as a model for other registries. The Ministry of Health recognized the value of the registry data and its contribution to the country’s cancer control program and is supporting sustainability of these registries as a result.


This study demonstrates how Turkey was able to use resources from multiple sources to enhance its population based cancer registry system in four provinces. With renewed international interest in non-communicable diseases and cancer following the 2011 UN high-level meeting on NCDs, low- and middle- income countries can benefit from Turkey’s experience. Other countries can utilize lessons learned from Turkey as they address cancer burden and establish their own registries.

Cancer surveillance; Turkey; Case study; International collaboration; Cancer registry