INTRODUCTION: Few population-based cancer registries are in place in developing countries. In order to know the burden of cancer in Moroccan population, cancer registry initiative was put in place in the Casablanca district, the biggest city of Morocco. METHODS: The data collected covers 3.6 millions inhabitant and included Casablanca city and the administrative region. RESULTS: The data collected in the years 2005-07 show that the top 5 forms of cancers in women were breast (ASR: 36.4 per 100,000), cervical (15.0), thyroid (6.7), colon-rectum (5.8), and ovarian (5.3); the top 5 cancers in men were lung (25.9), prostate (13.5), bladder (8.7), colon-rectum (8.1) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (7.2). Tumours of haematopoietic and lymphoid tissues represented 11% of all cancers (skin excluded); some presented unusual sex ratios. For breast, cervical, colorectal and thyroid cancer, respectively 57%, 42%, 28% and 60% of the cases were under 50 years of age. This was attributable to particularly low numbers of cases recorded among old people, and the young age of the general population; the observed age-specific incidences under age 50 were not higher than in western countries. Cancers at young ages were particularly common in women: 67% of the cases were under 50. Stage at diagnosis could be obtained for 82% of the breast cancer cases and was as follows: 28% local, 63% regional and 9% distant, in the absence of screening. CONCLUSION: These first population-based data have provided an invaluable resource for the national cancer control plan of Morocco, and will be useful tool to its future evaluation.