Cancer Incidence in Massachusetts

What Are the Most Recently Available Cancer Data?

Hospitals, physicians, pathology laboratories, and radiation therapy facilities are required to send information on newly diagnosed cases of cancer in Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Cancer Registry (MCR). To assure accuracy, multiple quality control activities are performed. Data are generally released 2-3 years after they are received. It may be even longer before Massachusetts data on cancer cases by city and town are released. Other cancer data, such as cancer deaths, may be available sooner.  Read more here

The Massachusetts Cancer Registry (MCR) collects information on all newly diagnosed cases of cancer in the state. These data provide important information for monitoring the impact of environmental and occupational hazards. The data are also used when designing and evaluating cancer prevention and control programs.

Each year, the MCR issues two main reports:

  • Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Massachusetts, and
  • The City/Town Supplement.

The City/Town Supplement report provides an estimate of cancer incidence for each of the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts for the five-year time period 2006 through 2010.  For each city and town, Standardized Incidence Ratios (SIRs) are presented for twenty-three types of cancer and for all cancer types combined.  These ratios compare the cancer incidence experience of each city or town with the cancer experience of the state as a whole.  The method involves comparing the number of cases that were observed for a city or town to the number of cases that would be expected if the city or town had the same cancer rates as the state as a whole.

For the most recent cancer incidence report by town, Click to download

*Note:  Reports are 5 years in arrears. Wellesley as a town had significantly higher rates than expected for the following cancers: Melanoma of the Skin, Prostate, Thyroid, Breast, And Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

 Additional Cancer Statistics

You can find statistics for specific cancers at cancer info on specific types of cancer.

Massachusetts Community Health Information Profile (MassCHIP) ( provides free online access to health and social indicators for cities and towns in Massachusetts. The database contains information that may be helpful in health planning for specific communities (for example, the percent of current smokers in a city or town). You can create Custom Reports with MassCHIP, or you can obtain information about a specific topic through Instant Topics. Click on the affiliation then find the appropriate cancer type for the instant topics.

Also, see statistical publications related to cancer.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Program and the Department of Public Health.


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