Cancer represents the second most common cause of death in Germany. The country’s federal states operate regional population-based cancer registries that collect and analyze data on cancer patients. This provides an essential basis for describing the cancer burden in the German population. In order to obtain valid and reliable information on cancer incidence at the national level, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) set up the Federal Cancer Surveillance Unit in 1983 as a central institution for evaluating this cancer registry data. In August 2009, when the Federal Cancer Registry Data Act (BKRG) came into force, the Center for Cancer Registry Data (ZfKD) at the RKI took over the work of the Cancer Surveillance Unit with a broader remit. In the future, it will also regularly publish findings on survival, prevalence, and tumor stage distribution. A newly established record linkage process will help identify multiple submissions from the federal states. Further innovations and new tasks of the ZfKD include expanding an interactive Internet platform and encouraging a more intensive use of cancer registry data for epidemiological research by providing datasets to external scientists. The range of information available to the interested public is also to be expanded.