Take Away Messages
A cancer registry is an information bank developed for collation, management and interpretation of data pertaining to persons diagnosed with malignant or neoplastic disease. Three primary types of cancer registries include hospital registries, state registries and special cancer registries.
Cancer registries gather, store and assess the data from cancer patients. They serve as an information bank for cancer research and offer information to aid public health officials and agencies. For instance, physicians access this data to gain more information and understand the cancer better prior to diagnosis .
Cancer registries utilize coding applications and manuals to collate and abstract their data . An abstract involves diagnosis, demographic information, cancer staging data, treatment and follow up. Cancer registries are required to abide by the abstracting rules established by the state agencies. As per the law, cancer registries should submit data to their individual state registry. Hospitals that possess accreditation from American College of Surgeons Commission (ACoS) also abide by their abstracting guidelines and rules. They also audit the data to ensure that it is devoid of errors. Cancer registries utilize different sources for case finding. Case finding is a procedure that involves identifying a patient who is detected and treated with a diagnosis at the health care facility .
It is of utmost importance that the registry staff preserves the confidentiality of the cancer data. In accordance to the Operating Rules portion of HIPPA, healthcare facilities have the authority to share the information regarding the course treatment and follow-up of patients. Cancer registries and individuals may be fined in case of illegitimate release of information, like other health care employees .
Cancer conferences or tumor boards offer opportunities to include multidisciplinary considerations pertaining existing standards, treatment guidelines and patient’s care.
The Commission on Cancer (CoC) holds four major goals with regards to quality, which include establishing standard guidelines to ensure quality cancer care, gather high-quality data, utilize the data to quantify cancer care quality, and formulate effective education interventions. Cancer registrars interact in association with a Quality Improvement Coordinator to establish and aid with quality analyses that assess the performance of facilities and consequences .
Cancer registry a crucial aspect of Health information management (HIM)
Cancer registry plays a significant role in HIM . A cancer registrar recognizes, gathers and preserves the information about the benign and malignant cancers that have been detected, diagnosed or treated by a particular health care organization. The cancer registrar also spreads the information to the federal, local and state government organizations in accordance to the established legislation and guidelines .
Cancer registry as a career path
Cancer registry as a career calls for working in a variety of settings and opens up avenues for several unique career paths. As a CTR, I can work in hospitals or companies for data analysis, interpretation and presentation to doctors and researchers that can utilize it further for cancer research and medicine. Researchers and physicians analyze this consolidated data to recognize specific patterns and trends and monitor the results of treatment methods and estimate patient survival frequencies. It would also match my introverted personality and skills like attention to details, curious nature. I am an inquisitive person, have an eye for patient histories, and understanding a cancer patient’s story . The flexibility to telecommute and work from home makes this career path lucrative and convenient for a good work life balance. Importantly, I love to work with data and numbers and enjoy working by myself, which makes this career most suitable for me.
Several cancer registrars acquire the certified tumor registrar (CTR) certification after obtaining a formal education coupled with experience in cancer registry field . The CTR certification is conducted under the administration of National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA). NCRA is a non-profit institute which represents cancer registry professionals and certified cancer registrars. NCRA reports that the scope and demand for cancer registrars has been booming in the recent years. Cancer registrars seek employment in the hospitals, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, insurance agencies, and recruiting firms. They may also enjoy the benefits of working in national cancer programs, state registries and consulting companies. Some registrars are also engaged in self-employment and freelancing. This credential is nationally accredited in the recruitment and retention of registry personnel. The CTR is indicative of requisite knowledge and professional proficiency required within cancer registry . The path to becoming a certified registrar involves many possibilities that include gaining a particular associate’s degree, appending a certificate to the current college degree, obtaining on job training and experience at a health care organization. While certification is not mandatory to work in field, it aids in securing lucrative jobs and salaries and an overall better career . Some programs also offer distance learning option conducted through internet based course work.
iseek.org. (2013, 9 19). Retrieved from http://www.iseek.org/news/fw/fw8725FutureWork.html
McWay, D. C. (2014). Today's Health Information Management. An integrated approach. NY, USA: Delmar Cengage Learning.
National Cancer Registrars Association. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.ncra-usa.org/files/public/BecomeaCancerRegistrar2014).pdf