Surveillance and Health Services Research


Our Mission

The goals of the Surveillance and Health Services Research (SHSR) Program are to analyze and disseminate cancer statistics, and identify gaps and opportunities in the delivery of cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment, in order to strengthen the scientific basis for -- and help promote – cancer control nationally and globally.

Our History

The American Cancer Society established the Statistical Research Section in 1946 with the goal of improving the quality and availability of data on cancer. In 1951, the first installment of Cancer Facts & Figures was published, establishing the beginning of cancer surveillance activities at the Society. The scope of the surveillance program broadened over time to further inform national and international cancer control efforts with the addition of risk factor and screening surveillance in 1992 and global cancer surveillance in 2006. In addition, a health services research group was added in 1996 to support ACS initiatives in expanding access to health care and cancer treatment.  

Our Work

Today, the SHSR Program, led by Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD, has three major focus areas: national and global cancer surveillance, risk factor and screening surveillance, and health services research. Two primary mechanisms have been used to communicate this research:

  • Cancer Facts & Figures reports, which provide statistics and general information on cancer for use by cancer control advocates, health educators, cancer patients and their families, Society staff and volunteers, and the media. In 2016, the SHSR Program launched the Cancer Statistics Center, a website that provides detailed cancer statistics in an interactive, easy-to-use format.
  • Original peer-reviewed journal articles that target public health experts, clinicians, and scientists.

In addition, the group provides scientific expertise to Society staff and volunteers, researchers, media, and constituents via the Society’s 24-hour National Cancer Information Center.

Specific SHSR objectives:

  • Compile and disseminate current scientific information on cancer incidence, mortality, survival, treatment, early detection, risk factors, prevention, and access to care to the public, the media, cancer control advocates, Society staff and volunteers, and community leaders to accelerate the translation of existing knowledge into practice
  • Monitor progress against cancer and identify emerging trends in occurrence and risk factors
  • Identify personal/health systems barriers (including financial toxicity and geographic availability of healthcare providers) and opportunities in delivery of high-quality care
  • Examine the influence of health policies and systems on use of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and supportive services, palliative care, and economic burden of cancer
  • Contribute to the advancement of surveillance and health services research through publications, conference participation, and collaborations across institutions and disciplines