Personal Information Collected by Cancer Registrars

Personal Info
It’s important for a cancer registrar to record specific information about each patient in effort to aid researchers in more accurately tracking cancer trends.

Cancer registries are an integral part of anti-cancer efforts, as they assist physicians in formulating treatment plans, researchers in creating abstracts, and academics in educating the public about cancer causes, treatment, and prevention methods.

If you are struggling with cancer, your information may be added to a registry to assist in controlling and preventing cancer. While it is entirely natural to worry about what sort of personal information is recorded, none of it is identifying and the information is solely used to aide in creating accurate, timely statistics related to cancer.

Demographic Information

Demographic information collected by a cancer registry includes your age, gender, race and ethnicity, place of birth, and place of residence. This information is helpful for tracking cancer statistics across age, differences in prevalence between males and females, prevalence in different races, and cancer rates in different cities.

Medical History

Your medical history information will include physical findings, screening information, your occupation, and any history you or a family member may have of cancer previously. Medical history is one of the most important elements in cancer registry data, and is highly effective in helping registrars identify and analyze patterns between patients. For example, mesothelioma has been linked specifically to patients who previously worked around asbestos through work performed by cancer registries.

Diagnostic Findings

Diagnostic findings collected include information relative to how you were diagnosed. This includes the type of cancer you have been diagnosed with, the date of your diagnosis, and the results of the procedures that were used to diagnose your cancer. This information helps registrars analyze the prevalence of specific cancer types and pinpoint the best procedures for diagnosing each type specifically.

Cancer Information

Information directly related to your cancer will be collected, including the primary site, cell type, and extent of the disease. This is useful for identifying common primary sites for each type of cancer and when combined with information about the date of diagnosis, analyzing the pace at which each type of cancer progresses.

Cancer Therapy

Regardless of the treatment(s) you undergo for your cancer, data will be collected for the registry, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. Information about cancer therapy helps registrars identify how effective different treatments are for different types of cancer.

Follow-up Information

As you continue through your cancer treatment into remission, registries still collect data about your progress. This includes updates to your status, updates to your treatment plan, and recurrence, if applicable.

The Purpose of Cancer Registrars

Cancer Registrar
Cancer registrars play a vital role in communicating data between patients and medical professionals with the intention of improving research while working towards finding cures for different known cancers.

Cancer registrars are important members of the anti-cancer movement, as they serve as experts in both data collection and data analysis related to all forms of cancer. They collect information about patient histories, diagnoses, treatments, and statuses; then translate the information into statistics for future studies. These statistics are reported to various healthcare agencies, including oncologists, administrators, researchers, and healthcare planners. The data collected by cancer registrars is intended to help oncologists and other healthcare professionals work toward the ultimate goal of controlling and preventing cancer.

What Types of Data are Compiled?

Cancer registrars are in charge of researching and compiling data in a timely manner, while ensuring that all of their findings are accurate. Generally, they compile and maintain information on all types of cancer being diagnosed or treated within an institution or specific population. They put together complete summaries for each patient that begin at the time of diagnosis and continue on through their lifetime. The ultimate goal is to create a registry that tracks each patient’s history individually, as well as an overall profile that shows information for all patients included in the registry. Thanks to modern technology, cancer registrars use electronic databases and computer software to help them input, track, and analyze the data they collect.

Who do Cancer Registrars Share Information With?

Often working closely with cancer programs and institutions, cancer registrars are usually an active part of the leadership structure of the facilities that employ them. They monitor the overall quality of patient care, ensure that treatments are meeting clinical practice guidelines, assess patterns of care, and monitor side effects, along with adverse outcomes of treatments. Oncologists use information collected by cancer registrars to create and evaluate treatment plans for patients; researchers often use the statistics cancer registrars compile as a starting point for their hypotheses. The data is also a valuable resource for educating the public about the incidence and outcomes of many different types of cancer.

Cancer registrars may find employment in healthcare facilities, central registries, consulting firms, government agencies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare industries.

Who is Eligible to Operate a Cancer Registrar?

Cancer registrars are run by a board of directors who either trained on-the-job or attended college programs in cancer data management. College programs provide aspiring registrar members with a strong foundation of knowledge in data collection methods, medical terminology, biostatistics, and cancer data abstracting. Many not-for-profit organizations earn certification from the National Cancer Registrars Association, which also offers a variety of benefits and resources to members to help them throughout their research.