For Your Health
For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Celebrate National Cancer Registrars Week April 8-12

In honor of the 23rd annual National Cancer Registrars Week (NCRW), North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has declared the week of April 8-12, 2019, as “Cancer Registry Week” in the State of North Dakota, the theme of which is “Cancer Registrars: Capturing the Picture of Cancer.”

We encourage you to join our colleagues, more than 5,800 Certified Tumor Registrars (CTRs), fellow medical professionals, and community leaders throughout the world to observe the day, and to advocate for cancer registry professionals.

Cancer registrars are data information specialists. They manage a wide range of cancer patient demographic, diagnostic, and treatment data; carry out cancer case abstracting and consolidation; and perform data linkages with various external datasets following specific coding rules. The information they provide is essential to health care providers and health officials to better monitor and improve cancer treatment, conduct research, and target cancer prevention and screening programs at state and national level. For example, the NDSCR supports the North Dakota Cancer Coalition (NDCC) by providing summary statistics on the distribution of cancer cases, tracking cancer incidence and mortality trends, and providing accurate cancer data for cancer-related researches.

“Quality cancer data is critical to the nation’s fight against cancer, and cancer registrars are the frontier to capturing that data,” noted Dr. Mary Ann Sens, PI, NDSCR, and chair of the Department of Pathology at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

The SMHS Department of Pathology is a bona fide agent for the North Dakota Department of Health (DoH), in operation of the NDSCR since 2012. As a Central Cancer Registry funded by the Centers for Disease Control/National Program of Cancer Registries and DoH, the NDSCR has successfully reported data to CDC/NPCR and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) every year since its establishment. The NDSCR has received “Gold Certificates” from NAACCR every year and was awarded the “Registry of Excellence” for four years and “Registry of Distinction” for one year from CDC/NPCR in recognition of achievement for its data completeness, timeliness, and quality. Last year, only 16 out of 50 states received “Cancer Registry of Excellence” from CDC/NPCR.

Aside from the staff working at the NDSCR, a majority of cancer registrars in North Dakota are working in the big hospitals of North Dakota. They submit monthly cancer abstracts to the NDSCR. In acknowledging their contributions to cancer research field, we want to take the opportunity to thank them for their hard work! Realizing that there is a shortage of CTRs in North Dakota, with only 20 in the state, we especially appreciate their knowledge pertaining to the Cancer Registry!