This is a new FOA to continue progress on the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) charge to enhance national cancer data and statistics in order to help public health professionals understand and address the nation’s cancer burden.
Cancer registrars’ knowledge of the
cancer disease process and the data standards is essential to registry operations.
Continuing education requirements ensure their continued proficiency in cancer data management and technological advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The 2006 Frontline Workers in Cancer Data Management:
Workforce Analysis of the Cancer Registry Field, a report prepared by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Center for the Health Professions notes the factor most frequently cited by informants as influencing the supply of cancer registrars was the lack of visibility of the profession.
The registry profession is small compared to other allied health professions (Health Information Management 40,000 versus Certified Tumor Registrars at 4500).
Lack of knowledge about the profession and degree programs contribute to the small number of certified registrars.
A small job market with limited degree programs results in a profession that must be promoted to recruit new members and retain current ones.
(This is supported by Healthy People 2020, PHI HP 2020-16 which states, "Increase the proportion of 2-year colleges that offer public health or related associate degrees and/or certificate programs.").
A well trained, highly qualified workforce is critical to the success of NPCR and the value of all cancer data.
Cancer is a reportable disease in all NPCR-funded states.
Cancer registrars ensure that timely, accurate, and complete data are maintained on all types of cancer diagnosed and /or treated within a health care institution or within a defined population.
Consequently, registrars at medical facilities (including hospitals, physicians’ offices, therapeutic radiation facilities, freestanding surgical centers, and pathology laboratories) and registrars employed by the central registries are actively involved in reporting accurate, timely and complete data.
These data are then submitted annually to CDC by each NPCR funded central cancer registry, resulting in national cancer data that is partially dependent upon the cancer registrar workforce.
In 2008, the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act was signed into law.
The purpose of the Act is to advance medical research and treatments in pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to information regarding pediatric cancers and current treatments for such cancers, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancer.
The law encouraged CDC to enhance and expand current infrastructure to establish a comprehensive national childhood cancer registry to track the epidemiology of pediatric cancer.
Specifically, this comprehensive registry is to include data on actual occurrences of pediatric cancer and have updated data within weeks of occurrence.
Success may well depend on the cancer registrar workforce.
The intent of this project is to continue and build upon the success of the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) by expanding opportunities to enhance registrars’ capacity and promote the cancer registry workforce.
National cancer data and statistics all begin from the same source, the cancer registrar, making the cancer registry profession critical to the field of cancer and to the nation’s public health.
The recruitment, education, credentialing and continuing education of these cancer surveillance professionals are essential to maintaining the integrity of the NPCR data and promoting its use.
This project will ensure that NPCR registries comply with Public Law 102 – 515, the Cancer Registries Amendment Act, which requires the complete, timely and accurate reporting of all malignancies and benign central nervous system tumors.
Similarly, it will support implementation of the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act, which mandates CDC to enhance and expand current infrastructure to establish a comprehensive national childhood cancer registry to track the epidemiology of pediatric cancer, and capture cases within weeks of diagnosis.