AHIMA and the National Cancer Association Registrar Association (NCRA) collaborated to create online learning to enhance opportunities for burgeoning cancer registrars, and to help students become eligible to sit for NCRA's Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) certification* exam. It’s important to know that in 2015, facilities accredited by the Commission on Cancer (COC) require all cancer case abstracting be performed by a CTR.
Develop Skills in a Respected, High-Tech Profession
Cancer registrars are data information specialists who capture a complete history, diagnosis, treatment, and health status for every cancer patient in the US. The data provides essential information to researchers, healthcare providers, and public health officials to better monitor and advance cancer treatments, conduct research, and improve cancer prevention and screening programs.
Cancer registrars manage and analyze clinical cancer data. Responsibilities include:
Study Online to Become a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR)
The NCRA AHIMA Cancer Registry Management (CRM) Program is an NCRA-Accredited Formal Education Certificate program. The online program allows students to tailor training based on their schedules and offers online support for content-related and technical questions. Aspiring cancer registrars can complete the full program for a structured and thorough introduction to the profession. Current healthcare practitioners can obtain the education needed to include cancer registry among their skills.
Upon completion of the program, a graduate of AHIMA’s Cancer Registry Management program can:
Provide information for cancer prevention activities
The NCRA AHIMA Cancer Registry Management (CRM) Program is an NCRA-Accredited Formal Education Certificate program. The web-based program allows students to tailor training based on their schedules and offers online support for content-related and technical questions. Aspiring cancer registrars can complete the full program for a structured and thorough introduction to the profession. Current healthcare practitioners can obtain the education needed to include cancer registry among their skills.
Upon completion of the program, a graduate of AHIMA’s Cancer Registry Management program will be able to:
The Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential demonstrates a requisite knowledge and professional competence needed within the cancer registry. It is nationally recognized in the recruitment and retention of registry personnel. NCRA’s certification board—the Council on Certification—develops and administers the CTR exam.
NCRA’s Council on Certification offers three eligibility routes to take the CTR Exam.
For information on the CTR Exam, including details on upcoming exam dates, eligibility routes, and to download the CTR Exam Handbook & Application, visit ctrexam.org.
Students may purchase CRM courses through the AHIMA webstore.
The Cancer Registry Management program is a series of online courses designed for individuals interested in cancer registry. Cancer registrars possess the clinical and technical knowledge and skills necessary to maintain components of the disease-related data collection systems consistent with medical, administrative, ethical, legal, and accreditation requirements of the healthcare delivery system.
Cancer Registry Management (CRM) students must have a minimum of an associate degree or its equivalent (60 credit hours) before beginning the CRM program. In addition, the CRM program requires the completion of four prerequisite courses. The four prerequisite courses can be taken with AHIMA and are available for purchase on the AHIMA webstore.
Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Disease [Register]
This course provides an overview to the anatomical structures and physiology of the human body. Each body system is discussed in terms of the major anatomical structures and function including how each system participates in homeostasis of the body. In addition, the course discusses selected major pathologies, including disease definitions and causes, signs and symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and possible treatments. Finally, the course discusses common issues and changes that occur in each body system through the life span.
Computer Basics in Healthcare [Register]
This course offers a general overview of computers and the Internet and the role each has played in healthcare and will play in the future. Students learn the basics of hardware and software and gain a general understanding of the most commonly used applications. Online tools used by AHIMA, such as the Communities of Practice and the Body of Knowledge, are explored, as well as the various applications used in the teaching of online courses.
Medical Terminology [Register]
This course covers medical terminology, symbols, and abbreviations, and the application of this new language in the field of healthcare. While terms are covered as they relate to body structure and function, the focus is on medical vocabulary and being able to construct terms using word parts such as roots, suffixes, and prefixes.
This course emphasizes the disease processes affecting the human body via an integrated approach to specific disease entities including the study of causes, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and an understanding of the basic principles of pharmacology.
AHIMA’s Cancer Registry Management program consists of six (6) specialty courses.
Once a student launches a course, it is open to the student for 365 days. We recommend that students take one CRM specialty course at a time in the order they are presented. The courses are built on degree of difficulty, which means learning from courses one through three is necessary to successfully complete course four. Courses are broken down into modules, and modules are broken down into lessons. Students should expect to spend at least two to three hours per week, per lesson.
Specialty Group 1
Specialty Group 2
Note: Required textbooks are not included with course registration and must be purchased separately.
Specialty Group 1 Courses
Cancer Registry Structure and Management
This course familiarizes the student with the basic concepts of the structure and management of cancer registries. At the conclusion of the course, the student will have a basic knowledge of the types and purpose of cancer registries, confidentiality issues, and the role of standard setting organizations in cancer data management.
Cancer Registry Operations
This course gives students an in-depth depiction of the systematic processes used in the daily operations of a cancer registry, including those to identify code, maintain quality, and provide lifetime follow-up on cases. Detailed guidelines on how to determine which cases meet eligibility requirements of state and national standards are reviewed. Insight is provided about the role the standards play in providing comparable data for analysis. The standards necessary for registry operations, both state and national, and the voluntary standards for approved cancer programs of the Commission on Cancer, are explored in detail.
Cancer Disease, Coding and Staging
This course defines cancer and how it develops and spreads to infect the body and ultimately causes death. Students learn about the hundreds of different types of cancer and benign tumors and how to classify these tumors utilizing globally recognized codes. Classification helps distinguish where the cancer initiated, the type of cancer, and how aggressive it may be. This course focuses on data collection processes. Students will become familiar with the components of a medical record, the principles of abstracting and coding, and cancer staging principles.
Major staging systems will be reviewed extensively, including the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) tumor-node-metastasis (TNM). Historical staging systems will be explored, such as the General Summary Staging, and Extent of Disease (EOD) will be explored, as well. Register
Specialty Group 2 Courses
Oncology Treatment and Coding
This course gives an in-depth overview of available cancer treatment options, how treatment works to destroy or eliminate cancer, and how to code each. A comprehensive review of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, and other less frequently used treatment modalities is provided. Treatment modalities are linked to the types of cancer they are used against. In addition, clinical pathways are utilized to help students determine what type(s) of treatment they should expect to find in medical records based on site, extent, and type of cancer.
Upon review of case summaries, treatment identification and coding will occur. First line of treatment is defined and identified. For each treatment modality, a detailed overview of coding references takes place, and appropriate codes are assigned. After case summaries are coded, students can determine if the treatment for the case is complete or if the case requires further research.
Information and resource documents for the professional practice experience requirement (160 hours) are also provided in this course.
Follow-up, Data Quality and Utilization
This course provides best practices for obtaining life-long follow-up on appropriate cases. It demonstrates the need for data quality and methods to ensure consistent, accurate data and outcomes. Statistics and epidemiology as it applies to the cancer registry will be explained. The structure and management of the database will be explored.
This course takes a systematic look at the source documents for data. Identification of cases eligible for inclusion in the cancer registry database and methods of documenting pertinent clinical information according to established standards are discussed. Independent abstracting of complete cancer registry abstracts are conducted. To complete the lessons and exercises in this course, the student should first successfully complete the Cancer Disease, Coding and Staging course offered through this program.