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UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center


Epidemiology Shared Resource

Director:  Rosemary D. Cress, Dr.P.H.

What is the Cancer Epidemiology Shared Resource?

The Cancer Epidemiology Shared Resource, supported by the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, facilitates access to California Cancer Registry (CCR) data for research, and provides epidemiologic expertise to use CCR data for descriptive analyses, manuscripts and grants.


What is the California Cancer Registry?

The California Cancer Registry (CCR), a program of the California Department of Public Health's Cancer Surveillance and Research Branch (CSRB) and operated by the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement, is the largest state cancer registry in the United States.  The CCR has collected information about cancers diagnosed among California residents since 1988.  State law requires that doctors, hospitals and other facilities that diagnose and treat cancer patients report information to the CCR.  Data collected by the CCR are obtained from patients’ medical records by cancer registrars.  More information about the CCR can be obtained from the CCR website.

Rosemary Cress © UC Regents
Rosemary D. Cress, director of Cancer Epidemiology Shared Resource

What types of information are available?

The CCR collects demographic, diagnostic and treatment information on individual cancer cases.

  • Demographic data include: patient name, address at diagnosis, sex, race, and age at diagnosis.
  • Diagnostic data include:  type of cancer (site and histology) and stage of disease at time of diagnosis.
  • Treatment data include type of surgery and whether the patient received radiation or chemotherapy as first course of treatment.

In addition, CCR data are routinely linked to administrative databases to obtain updated follow-up, census-based socioeconomic status, and enhanced treatment information.  Researchers can request CCR data linked to Medicare files and to OSHPD hospital discharge data.

Examples of research using CCR data:
  • Differences in prognostic factors and survival among white men and black men with prostate cancer
  • Descriptive analysis of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, progesterone receptor (PR)-negative, and HER2-negative invasive breast cancer, the so-called triple-negative phenotype
  • Treatment and survival of patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas
  • Socioeconomic status and breast carcinoma survival in four racial/ethnic groups
  • Trends in the use of breast-conserving surgery in California
  • Utilization of surgical staging procedures for patients with ovarian cancer
What services are available through the Epidemiology Shared Resource?
  • Researchers at UC Davis with projects approved by the director of the shared resource will be provided with access to de-identified CCR data contained in a SAS dataset.  Researchers or their analytic staff can conduct their own statistical analyses of the data using SAS and download the results, although original CCR data may not be downloaded.
  • Alternatively, researchers can request analytic support for their approved projects, with statistical analyses conducted by programmers experienced in both SAS and use of CCR data. 
  • Shared Resource staff also can provide advice on:
    • Epidemiology study design
    • Access to national cancer data
    • Access to patients for interview studies
    • Access to biologic specimens
Faculty of the Epidemiology Shared Resource

Dr. Cress is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences where she teaches Cancer Epidemiology.  She has 17 years of experience as a cancer epidemiologist with the California Cancer Registry where she has conducts research with registry data and assists researchers with using registry data.

How can I make use of the Epidemiology Shared Resource?

A researcher interested in using the shared resource should complete the STUDY PROPOSAL TEMPLATEarrow left

For more information, Email Rosemary D. Cress. Dr. Cress also can be reached by phone at 916-779-2610 with questions or to schedule a consultation.

Researchers interested in learning more about research utilizing CCR data can drop into informational sessions scheduled monthly on the UC Davis Health System campus.


This resource is funded by the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI P30CA093373). Publications that have utilized facility resources, services or scientific data generated by the resource should acknowledge the resource or the assistance provided by resource staff and cite the NCI CCSG grant. Moreover, to comply with NIH Public Access Policy, you must ensure that the manuscript is deposited in PubMedCentral. An electronic copy of the publication should also be sent to the resource directors.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) public access policyarrow left