Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a CTR Working for a Contract Company

MRA cancer registrar team member working from home

As a cancer registrar working for a contract company, I have had the opportunity to enjoy a range of benefits. These include the flexibility of a remote work schedule, the ability to work independently, and various opportunities for professional development and career advancement. Working for a contractor has given me the freedom to work the hours that best fit my lifestyle, which is especially important as a busy mother of two. Through working with different healthcare facilities, I have gained a wealth of experience that has polished my skills as a cancer registrar and made me more proficient in the position. In this blog I will outline some of the duties I perform in my role as a cancer registrar for a contract company.


While abstracting, I will review medical records and convert data into codes which are entered into a special registry software. Health information is collected on each patient that summarizes their demographics, cancer site, histology, stage at diagnosis and treatment information. Each patient abstracted is also updated regarding their health status, allowing for follow up and survival statistics to be collected. This data is then used for research and to improve cancer services.


As a cancer registrar, my primary responsibility during case finding is to thoroughly review pathology reports, investigate and collect reportable cases, and input them into the cancer registry database. It is crucial to conduct casefinding promptly and accurately to ensure that the incident rates reflect the current status of cancer diagnoses. Apart from reviewing pathology reports, other methods for casefinding include attending tumor boards. However, at present, my focus is on carefully following the guidelines outlined in the registry manual and solid tumor rules to determine which cases are reportable based on my review of pathology reports.

Follow up:

Cancer registrars are required to do follow-up on the patient’s last date of contact and status of disease. It is important to perform follow-up on an annual basis and perform on-going surveillance to improve the cancer registry’s follow-up rate. To prevent patients from being lost to follow-up, monthly reports are created to ensure that their updated status and last visit information are recorded in the database. Additionally, periodic attempts are made to contact patients to obtain the most recent information about their status, which is also updated in the database.


When working with state cancer registries, I combine multiple reporting sources from various facilities for the same patient into a single abstract. This process involves cross-checking the received information, identifying any errors or inconsistencies, and correcting them within the abstract. This approach helps to prevent discrepancies and eliminate the possibility of duplicate cases for the same patient from different facilities.

In conclusion, working as a CTR for a contract company can offer many benefits, including the opportunity to work remotely, a flexible schedule, and the ability to work independently. This is especially advantageous for individuals with busy lifestyles or family commitments. Additionally, contract companies often provide professional development opportunities and the ability to work with multiple facilities, which can expand your skill set and knowledge base. Whether you’re responsible for abstracting, casefinding, follow-up, or consolidation, working as a CTR for a contract company can be an exciting and fulfilling career path. With its numerous advantages, it’s no wonder that more and more individuals are choosing to pursue this option in the field of cancer registry.

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AHIMA Approved

This program has been approved for continuing education unit(s) (CEUs) for use in fulfilling the continuing education requirements of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Granting of Approved CEUs from AHIMA does not constitute endorsement of the program content or its program provider.