In Cuba, the illness that produces most deaths among 1–64-year-olds is cancer. Over 65, it is the second cause of death after heart diseases. A National Cancer Registry was created 1964. Its main goals are to register all malignant neoplasms diagnosed in the country, to study this disease from the statistical and epidemiological point of view and to aid in the health control and planning of cancer fighting resources. This paper presents the results based on cases registered from 1986 to 1990. More than 50% of incidence and mortality caused by cancer is confined to the five major primary sites: lung, prostate, colon, breast and cervix. World population standardised rates by 100,000 inhabitants for the period 1986–1990 were 218.2 in males and 183.7 in females for incidence and 138.4 in males and 95.1 in females for mortality. Cancer incidence distribution by provinces shows two major regions: western-central, where higher risks of lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers are found, and eastern where very high risk of cervix cancer is observed. Although an improvement of the information quality indexes has been reported by the National Cancer registry in the studied period of time, quality of the data remained very poor according to the international standards. However, the results obtained by the National Cancer Registry seem to be a valuable tool to evaluate the cancer burden and, in particular, to control and eventually modify the tasks of the National Cancer Control Program in Cuba.