In addition to being National Public Health Week, this week April 7 – 11 is also National Cancer Registrars Week (NCRW). The purpose of NCRW is to emphasize the crucial role cancer registrars play in capturing the data that informs cancer research, prevention, and treatment programs.
We think it’s serendipitous that these two recognition weeks coincide because of the important task cancer registrars have in informing public health professionals about cancer data and trends used in program and policy decisions.
So what does a cancer registrar do?
Cancer registrars are healthcare professionals that collect, analyze, and report cancer data. Detailed information on diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship are collected for every cancer patient in Nevada (and nationwide). Registrars work at hospitals, medical facilities, and central registries throughout the state and the information collected is reported, by law, to the state and federal government, including the Nevada Central Cancer Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute.
Many cancer registrars are also Certified Tumor Registrars or CTRs. The CTR is the credential that signifies professional excellence in the cancer registry field. In Nevada we have less than twenty CTRs, yet a number of our health care facilities are providing the opportunity for more professionals to gain the skills and knowledge needed to become a CTR.
How is cancer registry data used?
A well-maintained cancer registry can yield a wealth of information for key stakeholders including local, state, and national cancer agencies. The data can assist these groups in making important health decisions to maximize the effectiveness of public health funds and programs. Take a look at this useful fact sheet for even more uses for the data.
Cancer Registrars in Nevada
Recently the Nevada Cancer Coalition, working with the Nevada Central Cancer Registry, brought together registry professionals within the state to collaborate on improvements to the registry system and state policies, and to build continuing education opportunities for CTRs. This exciting project has already met with success and includes an upcoming full-day Nevada Central Cancer Registry Summit, May 8 in Reno. This summit has been developed to bring together CTRs, cancer data professionals, healthcare professionals, and epidemiologists to:
- Discuss the statewide changes at the NCCR and quality data reporting
- Explore the importance, implications, and use of Nevada’s cancer data
- Share the latest innovations in head and neck cancer diagnosis, treatment, documentation and reporting.