The Cancer Registrars gather facts about every patient who is diagnosed or treated for cancer at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center or Highsmith-Rainey Memorial Hospital. They then review each patient's medical record to determine their personal health history, family history, age, race, religion, results of any diagnostic tests, treatments, research protocols and any other pertinent information relating to the patient's cancer, and enter all this information into the Cancer Registry Data Base. It then goes on to the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and the National Cancer Data Base.
Cancer registrars follow each patient for her entire lifetime, contacting the patient's physician annually to determine whether the patient is cancer-free or has had a recurrence. This enables them to determine the long-term survival rate of various cancers. This benefits both the patient and the physician-calls from the Cancer Registry can remind physicians when patients are due for a follow-up appointment.
As a last resort, the Cancer Registrars send a notice to the patient. Patients are often grateful for the reminder. As the years go by, it is easy for cancer survivors to forget about check-ups, though these check-ups are critical in catching cancer recurrences or new cancers in their earliest and most treatable stages.
Another benefit of the Cancer Registry is physicians' ability to use registry data to help make treatment decisions. Physicians on Cape Fear Valley Health System's medical staff can request reports from the Cancer Registry on any type of cancer. This provides them with an ongoing account of each cancer patient's history, diagnosis, treatment and current status. Such a complete summary of a patien's disease, from diagnosis through their lifetime, is not available to physicians from any other source.