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What Is a Tumor Registrar?

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  • Written By: Erica Stratton
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  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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A tumor registrar is a position in the health industry responsible for creating a database with information about cancer patients. By working with large amounts of data on the disease, they can help monitor different kinds of cancer. Their research helps to set current health policies and evaluate how the disease will be treated in the future. Individuals can get certified as tumor registrars by taking a basic course or pursuing long-term education.

The position of tumor registrar can focus on at least three different areas of research and data entry. A tumor registrar can work as part of a hospital or cancer treatment facility, collecting data on all the patients' types of cancer, treatments, and survival rates throughout their lives. Another kind of registrar works with a larger field of data, evaluating statewide or countrywide information on cancer types, treatments, and survival rates. A third type of registrar focuses strictly on a single type of cancer on a local or national level.

No matter what level of information they're working with, tumor registrars can play an important part in the battle against this disease. In addition to entering data on the disease, tumor registrars also fashion reports and treatment plans based on the information they gather. They keep track of patients from their first treatment up until their remission or death. A tumor registrar must also take into a account race, a patient's birthplace, and other socioeconomic factors that might affect the disease.

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There is more than one way to become a tumor registrar, though it always involves some kind of formalized education. Depending on the level at which they want to work, a student who wants to become a registrar will need to have an associate's degree in medical information technology. This will involve taking classes in anatomy, physiology, bio statistics, and data registry management. An interested person can take classes at a school, or use classes available on the Internet. In both cases, they will have to take a formal test for full certification.

With so many different areas to focus on, a student wishing to become a tumor registrar may need to do research. Both local and national databases for cancer research often give out brochures that can help a student narrow down the kind of training he will need for the level of job he is interested in. These sources can also provide sample tests and self-teaching courses. They can also supply information on current job availability and salary rates.

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bear78
Post 7

@anamur-- The reason for this is because the work that is done as a tumor registrar requires knowledge of medical terms. If you don't have a background and experience in the medical field, you won't understand the terms and you won't be able to do it.

I have a friend who worked as a medical secretary for a long time. She wanted to get more education and move into something different and decided on becoming a tumor registrar. She went back to school for two years and found a job as soon as she was done.

It's really not that difficult to switch careers, but I do think it's easier for people who are already in the medical field. They probably already have some association with the medical industry and the terms. It might be a more extreme change to get tumor registrar training from a completely unrelated field, but it's possible.

serenesurface
Post 6

I think it's kind of frustrating that to be a rumor registrar, you have to go back to school. I did not major in the medical field, but I did take some biology courses in college. I've also been doing research work since my graduation.

I wouldn't mind taking a six month or even one year course to get certified as a tumor registrar. But I really don't want to go back to school and take courses again.

I don't understand why it's so difficult to switch careers. I think that anyone with enough experience and training in research can be successful as a tumor registrar. Is it really necessary to attend college? In my opinion it's not and I'd rather not pursue this career if I have to go back to school.

discographer
Post 5

@bagley79-- That's good insight on working as a tumor registrar. Can you give us some more information about the advantages and disadvantages of this job, as well as tumor registrar salary?

Also, would you say that this job is not for the overly-sensitive, emotional types? Is it really stressful at times?

I'm in the same boat as @SarahSon, I'm interested in this career but haven't taken any steps to pursue it yet. And honestly, I'm not sure if it's the right job for me. I do tend to be a little emotional. My last job required me to do research and prepare reports for Americans in Afghanistan. It was a disheartening job because I got to read about Americans' difficulties and losses there daily.

At one point, I realized that I was getting depressed and left the job. I don't want the same thing to happen again and it does seem like it would be difficult to think about sick and dying people everyday. Even if it is for a good cause.

sunshined
Post 4

@Mykol - I have worked at a cancer treatment facility for about 5 years, and I have seen several job openings for a cancer tumor registrar.

There is also much that can be done at a national level depending on what area you are in. I think some of the most fascinating research is when one particular part of the country is focused on.

If they see that one area of the country has a higher percentage rate of lung cancer than other areas, this can really go a long ways toward their research.

Cancer is one of those diseases that can affect any part of your body, and can happen at any time. When accurate data is collected and studied, it can make a big difference in how they continue to proceed with further research.

This is something that most people don't like to think about until it happens to them. Once it hits home, it changes how you think about it, and you are much more open to supporting cancer research.

Mykol
Post 3

There seem to be so many options for employment within the medical field. This is also an area where you should never have to worry much about job security.

I know several people who are struggling with cancer, and it also seems like there are more young people who are diagnosed with this all the time.

How much potential is there for finding cancer tumor registrar jobs? I have never seen this listed as a job opening, but I haven't worked in the medical field for very long either.

I know when my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, there was a lot of data that was collected on him. At the time, I never gave much thought to how this was going to be used.

It makes sense that all of this data and research pooled together can help shed some light for those people who are studying all of the results.

There have been some great strides made for some types of cancer, but there are other types where they don't have nearly as much research being done.

bagley79
Post 2

@SarahSon - There are several different ways to go about getting the education and experience you need to work in certified tumor registrar jobs.

They all require you to pass the certification test before you can be considered certified. For me, I attended a community college for 2 years and received a degree in medical coding.

The important thing to remember, as far as your schooling, is to make sure you are enrolled in an accredited program.

After I received this degree I worked in the cancer wing of a local hospital, and this is how I became interested in the tumor registrar job.

Because I had a degree and a few years of experience in the related field, I studied to pass the certification test.

For the most part I usually enjoy my job. It can be a little disheartening when you realize you are recording data on people who are really going through a tough time.

As long as I focus on the fact that all this research and data collecting is going for a good cause, I feel like I am making a difference.

SarahSon
Post 1

I know there is a lot of research and record keeping that was done on different types of cancer, but I have never heard of tumor registrar jobs.

I have been thinking about going back to school, and this sounds like something I would be interested in pursuing.

I am interested in the medical field and have always enjoyed jobs that involve research and data. It also sounds like it would be rewarding in the sense you are making a difference in how this type of cancer is treated in the future.

Cancer is something that seems to affect every family in one way or another. It would be rewarding to know you were making a positive contribution to the ongoing work of these awful diseases.

How long does it take to go through certified tumor registrar training?

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