Louisiana Cancer Registrars Association (LCRA) was founded in October of 1977 to provide educational opportunities, workshops, seminars, and symposiums for registrars and their associates to improve the quality and uniformity of registries in Louisiana. Also of importance is promoting the recognition of Oncology Data Specialists/Cancer Registrars/Data Managers throughout the State. A Data Oncology Specialist’s primary responsibility is to ensure that complete and accurate data are collected and maintained for all cancer patients diagnosed and/or treated within an institution or other deﬁned population such as the state of Louisiana.
Reasons to keep this data in a cancer registry:
- Lifetime Patient Follow‑up
A cancer registry is a data system designed for the collection, management, and analysis of data on persons with a diagnosis of malignant disease (cancer).
What Is an Oncology Data Specialist?
Oncology Data Specialists collect and report cancer statistics. Data Oncology Specialists capture the complete history, diagnosis, treatment, and health status of every cancer patient in the U.S.
Oncology Data Specialists collect the data that provides essential information to researchers, healthcare providers, and public health officials to better monitor and advance cancer treatments, conduct research, and improve cancer prevention and screening programs.
- Identify cases
- Manage the cancer registry database
- Ensure data completeness
- Comply with standards
- Analyze and present data
- Run customized reports
- Inform community needs assessments
- Track patient survival data
By collecting the data that makes up the cancer history of each cancer patient, information can be provided to researchers, healthcare providers, and public health officials to help:
- Monitor cancer trends over time
- Evaluate cancer patterns in populations and identify high-risk groups
- Guide planning and evaluation of cancer control programs
- Set priorities for allocating health resources
- Study cancer causes and prevention strategies
Oncology Data Specialists work closely with physicians, administrators, researchers, and healthcare planners to provide support for cancer program development, ensure compliance of reporting standards, and serve as a valuable resource for cancer information with the ultimate goal of preventing and controlling cancer.
Most registrars work for hospitals or central cancer registries. (State registries are referred to as central registries.) A few work for federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries or the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.
Become an Oncology Data Specialist
In the past, Oncology Data Specialists were trained on the job. Today, post-secondary education programs around the country teach cancer data management. Possible college courses that a student might take to earn a degree in this field include cancer and its management, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, computers in healthcare, biostatistics and epidemiology, cancer data abstracting, database record management, cancer program management, cancer registry procedures, among others.
Click below to view the common paths to becoming an Oncology Data Specialist. The National Cancer Registrars Association accredits educational programs across the U.S. Many are available online.