Cancer/Tumor Registrars

What Do Cancer/Tumor Registrars Do?

Cancer/tumor registrars compile and maintain records of hospital patients treated for cancer. They utilize a tumor registry data system for use by physicians and researchers. Cancer/Tumor registrars review hospital records to identify and compile patient data for use in cancer management programs and to comply with government regulations. They review and code information from the patient’s medical record, such as demographic characteristics, history and extent of disease, diagnostic procedures, and treatments. They may also contact discharged patients, their families, and their physicians to ensure the registry includes follow-up information, such as quality of life and length of survival of cancer patients. Cancer/tumor registrars also prepare statistical and narrative reports and graphic presentations of tumor registry data for use by hospital staff and researchers.

Where Do Cancer/Tumor Registrars Work?

Cancer/tumor registrars work in cancer registries, which may be at institutional (e.g., hospitals), state, or regional organizations, or as consultants when they are certified as cancer/tumor registrars.

What Do Cancer/Tumor Registrars Earn?

In 2012, the website Salary.com estimated cancer/tumor registrar earnings to be about $44,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet publish employment and earnings data for cancer/tumor registrars, although this is expected to be added soon.

Supply and Demand

According to the National Cancer Registrars Association, there are over 5,000 cancer registrars in the U.S. Tremendous potential for employment growth continues in government agencies, as well as insurance, pharmaceutical, and other health care industries as accurate, timely data increasingly impact cancer control efforts. Cancer/tumor registrars who possess knowledge of management and administration, medical sciences, medical coding, programming, database management, and data retrieval and analysis will find a ready market for those skills.

New York Educational Requirements

Cancer/tumor registrars are sometimes trained on the job or most often in formal education programs. Curricula may include courses on cancer and its management, cancer program management, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, biostatistics and epidemiology, cancer data abstracting, database record management, and cancer registry procedures.

New York Certification/Licensure Requirements

New York has no licensure requirements for cancer/tumor registrars. Individuals wishing to demonstrate proficiency in their occupation may receive certification through national organizations such as the National Cancer Registrars Association: http://www.ctrexam.org.

Financial Support

Limited financial aid and scholarships are available from colleges and from other organizations that provide cancer/tumor registrar training. In addition, the NCRA Education Foundationis a nonprofit organization with the mission of supporting the advancement of the Cancer Registry profession through education and research. The Foundation supports its mission by assuring education, training and resources are available for Cancer Registry professionals in order to provide quality data. More information may be available at their Web site: http://www.ncraeducationfoundation.org/index.html.

Education Programs in New York (subject to change)

At this time, there are not any schools in New York offering this education program.

Please check with the NCRA Education Department at 703-299-6640, ext. 314, for updates and long distance programs, and view their Web page: http://www.ncra-usa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3299.

Additional Web Links

For more information on cancer registrars, go to

National Cancer Registrars Association: http://www.ncra-usa.org;

North American Association of Central Cancer Registries: http://www.naaccr.org/;

National Program of Cancer Registries: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/npcr/index.htm.