North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry recognizes cancer registrars

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


The 19th Annual National Cancer Registrars Week (NCRW) is April 6–10, 2015. Cancer registrars throughout the world join their colleagues, fellow medical professionals, and community leaders to observe NCRW during this week. The purpose of NCRW is to emphasize the important role cancer registrars play in capturing cancer data that inform research, prevention, and treatment programs.

Cancer registrars are healthcare professionals that work in hospitals, medical facilities, or central registries. They report cancer-related information to the state and federal government, enable cancer programs to accurately determine cancer patient populations, measure outcomes of treatment and survival, and formulate plans for prevention and treatment improvement. The summary results obtained from the cancer data are included in numerous publications, including the prestigious Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, which is a collaborative report created by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC/NPCR), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

This year’s theme is “Cancer Registrars: The Lighthouse in a Storm of Change.” This theme is very appropriate for this year. Not only is the foundation for the staging system undergoing a significant change but the cancer data demands are constantly increasing. Keeping up with the changes can be a challenge. At the North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry (NDSCR), we are now facing the challenge of training ourselves in order to become familiar with the new standards and new rules created by the CDC/NPCR and NAACCR related to cancer registry data management. Also, we are promoting the NDSCR and collaborating with researchers, government programs, students, and the public. In past years, the NDSCR cancer database resided somewhere outside the state of North Dakota, and therefore handling data requests was difficult and often delayed. However, this situation has changed. Since the summer of 2014, after transferring the Cancer Registry operation from the ND Department of Health (DoH) to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) at the University of North Dakota, the NDSCR has obtained a new server and the ND cancer data was stored successfully at the SMHS with help received from the SMHS’s Information Resources Department. Handling data requests this way becomes more convenient and efficient. Since then, we received 29 total requests in 2014, up from 21 requests in 2013; our epidemiologist’s worked hard and provided accurate cancer data analysis results to the requesters without delay. In addition, as a result of transferring the cancer database to UND for implementation of data integrity and security protocols, the NDSCR database is able to meet the restriction requirements and the NDSCR has successfully re-signed data sharing agreements with the Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Health Administration (VA) hospitals in the ND area. Without doubt, it helps to improve the ND cancer data completeness being guided by the CDC/NPCR standard for high-quality data.

We know that there would be no cancer surveillance system without cancer registrars. Cancer surveillance is unique, and a majority of its success is attributed to the cancer registrars. “Quality cancer data is central to the nation’s fight against cancer, and cancer registrars are the first link in capturing that data,” notes the National Cancer Registrars Association’s (NCRA) President Terri Richardson, RHIA, CTR. “National Cancer Registrars Week provides an opportunity to acknowledge the pivotal role registrars play in creating the sound footing from which cancer care and treatment can advance.” During NCRW, we want to take this opportunity to recognize the important role all cancer registrars play.

Congratulations to all cancer registrars for continuing to provide the professional foundation completely directed to the improvement of cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Happy National Cancer Registrars Week!

North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry Staff