Module 1: Cancer Registry

This module consists of three units. Units 1.1 and 1.2 cover some basic concepts related to cancer registration. Unit 1.3 introduces different types of cancer registries.

After completing this module, cancer abstractors will be able to:

  • Define some basic concepts related to cancer registration
  • Name the three general types of cancer registries

Module 1 Units:

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Unit 1.1: What is a Cancer Registry?

A cancer registry is a particular type of disease registry. It is an organized system for the collection, storage, management, and analysis of data on persons with cancer who have been diagnosed and/or treated at a facility. 

Cancer registration is a process of a systematic collection of data on the occurrence and characteristics of reportable malignancies (Module 2). Cancer registrars are trained to collect accurate, complete, and timely data on cancer patients.

Major purposes of a cancer registry are: 

  1. to establish and maintain a cancer incidence reporting system;
  2. to be an informational resource for the investigation of cancer and its causes; and
  3. to provide information to assist public health officials and agencies in the planning and evaluation of cancer prevention and cancer control programs.

Unit 1.2: What Does a Cancer Registry Do?

  • Casefinding: Identify reportable cases (See Module 4)
  • Collect cancer data: Abstracting (See Module 3)
  • Quality control: Accuracy, completeness
  • Follow-up patients: ACOS, COC hospitals only
  • American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer
  • Analyze and distribute information using the database
  • Serve as a resource for education and research

Unit 1.3: Types of Cancer Registries 

There are Three General Types of Cancer Registries:

  • Hospital and Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center (ASTC)-Based Registries
  • Population-Based Registries
  • Special Registries
  • Hospital and ASTC based cancer registries maintain data on all patients diagnosed and/or treated at their facility.

Population based cancer registries (Central Registries) maintain data on all cancer patients in a particular geographic area. These registries can be administrative, research, or cancer control oriented.

Special cancer registries maintain data on one aspect or one type of cancer e.g. bone tumors, brain tumors, or pediatric tumors. They often provide educational opportunities for those who want to learn more about a particular type of cancer, and support for those who may suffer from it.

Tennessee Cancer Registry is the Central Cancer Registry for The State of Tennessee. The Tennessee Cancer Registry (TCR) is a population based incidence only cancer registry which collects data on all cancer cases within the state of Tennessee. It provides data free of charge through Research Data Requests from cancer research programs. The data is used for monitoring the distribution of cancer among certain communities, ethnicities, ages and other demographic groups. It is also used to evaluate suspected clusters of cancer within communities or population groups.


Module 1: Review & Quiz

Unit 1.1 and 1.2: The cancer registry is an information system established for the collection, storage management, and analysis of cancer data. Cancer registration refers to the process of systematic collection of data on the occurrence and characteristics of reportable malignancies. Behind the system are people, cancer registrars, who are responsible for collecting the cancer data and making sure they are timely, accurate, and complete.

Unit 1.3: There are three general types of cancer registries: population-based cancer registries, hospital and ASTC-based cancer registries, and special cancer registries.

Data collected by population-based registries are used by physicians, researchers, medical students, and health care administrators alike. Research can be conducted based on an unbiased group of cases. In addition, using data collected from population-based cancer registries, cancer control agencies and programs make important decisions regarding the allocation of resources and prevention strategies. 

Quiz for Module 1 

Click here to take the Module 1 Quiz.