Cancer Registrar. Tumor Registrar. Oncology Data Consultant. The list goes on to include many titles that have been bestowed upon those of us who specialize in collecting and managing data that healthcare providers and health officials use to improve cancer treatment, conduct research, and develop cancer prevention and screening programs. However, we are no longer confined to serving in the current capacity of a cancer registrar.
Things are beginning to change and our expertise in oncology data has been receiving a great deal of interest. With some additional training, some of our colleagues have ventured into – and thrived in – the area of Precision Medicine.
What Is Precision Medicine?
According to the Precision Medicine Initiative, which was launched in 2015, Precision Medicine is “an innovative approach to disease prevention and treatment that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles.” With a combination of clinical and molecular data, this approach to patient care allows physicians to develop a molecular signature, and this genetic interpretation of the patient’s disease is used to select the most efficacious treatments.
Why Cancer Registrars?
There are many Precision Medicine clinical trials underway and the information gleaned from these must be combined and available for researchers to access and analyze. Who better to collect this data than certified tumor registrars (CTRs)? As cancer registrars, the growth of Precision Medicine in oncology already requires us to expand our skill set, especially as Precision Medicine expands from academic centers to become more routine in the community cancer care center. So when you pair our extensive knowledge and understanding of oncology data with our growing knowledge of subjects such as biomarkers, tumor sequencing, cytogenetics, and assay developments, it’s easy to see why cancer registrars make strong proponents for the collection of data to support Precision Medicine.
As registrars, we have a lot to offer – in-depth knowledge surrounding the data we work with and the associated processes of accurately capturing and managing that data, a passion for quality, an eye for detail, an aptitude for data analysis, the willingness to continually learn, and a strong desire to improve the lives of individuals touched by cancer. With a little extra training, we have the chance to expand our role, the value of which is aptly stated by Albert Einstein:
“Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later works belong.”
Let’s all strive to learn more so that we can use our expertise to contribute to the advancement of disease prevention and treatment that is made possible through Precision Medicine.