All About the Cancer Registrar Career (Tumor Registrar)

Get a Career in A Growing Health Care Field
Get a Career in A Growing Health Care Field

A Tumor Registrar is a health information professional who analyzes a cancer patient's chart, and abstracts specific information from the chart in order to aid in vital cancer research.

Once the information is abstracted, the tumor registrar codifies and classifies the data according to a strict set of rules. Finally, the registrar imports the data to the cancer registry.

It is important for you to know that the terms tumor registrar and cancer registrar are interchangeable.

So, What is a Cancer Registrar?

A Tumor Registrar is a health information professional who analyzes a cancer patient's chart, and abstracts specific information from the chart, in order to aid in cancer research.

Once the vital information is abstracted, the tumor registrar codifies and classifies the data according to a strict set of rules. Finally, the registrar imports the data to the cancer registry.

It is important for you to know that the terms tumor registrar and cancer registrar are interchangeable.

What is a Cancer Registry?

According to the National Cancer Registrar's Association (NCRA), a central cancer registry is a collection of data about cancer and its characteristics. The data is extracted from patient's records by highly specialized health information technologists known as tumor registrars.

Once the information is pulled from the patient's records, the data is imported into the cancer registry. This registry is maintained in order to aid scientists with cancer research, and lifetime follow up of a patient's status provides invaluable information.

A hospital based cancer registry is primarily focused on cancer therapy within its hospital or hospital system. Hospital based cancer registries often share their information with a central agency as required by law.

So...exactly what is a cancer registry?
So...exactly what is a cancer registry?

How Much Money Does a Cancer Registrar Make?

Tumor Registrars fall under the category of health information technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the middle 50 percent earned between $24,300 and $39,500. Specific salary is determined by certification, time on the job (seniority) and work site location.

I have included two snapshots below of actual Cancer Registrar job postings that include salary information - these job postings were taken from Atlanta's Emory University Hospital's career website; they should give you a good idea of what kind of jobs are out there for these much needed health care professionals.

If you cannot clearly see the figures, the entry level positions start at $17 per hour, and can go up to about $19 per hour,  and the more experienced positions starts at $19 per hour and can rise to more than $25 per hour.

Entry - Level Certified Tumor Registrar Job Post
Entry - Level Certified Tumor Registrar Job Post | Source
Sr. Certified Tumor Registrar Job Post
Sr. Certified Tumor Registrar Job Post | Source

Career Training

Back in the day, tumor registrars were trained on the job. Today, there are formal training courses taught at colleges (primarily community colleges) across the country. The majority of these programs seem to be focused on a health information management program with a tumor registrar track.

There are also several courses that offer tumor registry training in less than six months, and some crash courses that claim they can train you to become a registrar in a matter of weeks - use great caution when considering these types of training options.

Remember, if you are interested in this health care profession, you should be sure that the course you choose will teach you the skills necessary to master the Certified Tumor Registrar examination.

About Cancer Registrar Certification

The National Cancer Registrars Association’s (NCRA) administers the nationally recognized Certified Tumor Registrar examination (CTR certification exam).  Although CTR certification is not mandatory, it is becoming widely recognized as time passes, and employers are beginning to make it a requirement. 

The CTR exam is 4.5 hours with a break at about the 3-hour mark.  There are 250 questions and a candidate must answer 175 correctly in order to receive a passing score.  Once a candidate has successfully passed this exam they can officially utilize the title, Certified Tumor Registrar.

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Comments 2 comments

yshashikant profile image

yshashikant 5 years ago from Mumbai

I m not really interested in being a cancer registrar however i can feel another genuine hubber joining us here. Welcome to hubpages. And hope you continue writing good hubs. Thanks for being here Rachelle.


Michele 5 years ago

This is a fairly good summary of a cancer registrar (Tumor Registrar is an "older" term) - however we also do so much more. Here's a website devoted to the subject, http://www.CancerRegistrar.com

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