The Cancer Registrars gather facts about every patient who is diagnosed or treated for cancer, which is a federal requirement for all cancer treatment facilities. Cancer Registrars review each patient’s medical record to determine health history, family history, age, race, religion, results of any diagnostic tests, treatments, research protocols and any other pertinent information relating to the patient’s cancer. This information is then entered into the Cancer Registry database. After removing the identities, the data is sent annually to the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and the National Cancer Data Base.
Cancer registrars follow each patient for his or her entire lifetime, contacting the patient’s physician annually to determine whether the patient is cancer-free or has had a recurrence. This enables them to determine the long-term survival rate of various cancers. This benefits both the patient and the physician – calls from the Cancer Registry remind physicians when patients are due for a follow-up appointment.
As a last resort, the Cancer Registrars send a reminder notice to the patient about follow-up appointments. Patients are often grateful for the reminder. As the years go by, it is easy for cancer survivors to forget about check-ups, though these check-ups are critical in catching cancer recurrences or new cancers in their earliest and most treatable stages.
The Cancer Registry also benefits the physicians as it allows them to use registry data to help make treatment decisions. Physicians on Cape Fear Valley’s medical staff can request reports from the Cancer Registry on any type of cancer. These reports (minus patient identities) provide them with ongoing accounts of each cancer patients’ history, diagnosis, treatment and current status. Such a complete summary of a particular disease, from diagnosis through lifetime follow up, is not available to physicians from any other source.