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Judge/executive proclaims Cancer Registrar's Week

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Cancer registrars throughout the world joined colleagues, fellow medical professionals and community leaders recently to observe the 17th annual National Cancer Registrars Week, which was April 8-12. The purpose of NCRW is to emphasize the important role cancer registrars play in capturing the data that informs cancer research, prevention and treatment programs.

Cancer registrars are data information specialists who collect and code patient-level data for cancer registries. The registries provide essential information to researchers, health care providers and health officials to better monitor and improve cancer treatment, conduct research and target cancer prevention and screening programs. "Cornerstones of Care," the 2013 theme, emphasizes how the data create a solid foundation for developing effective cancer treatments and prevention initiatives.

Cancer registrars work in a variety of cancer treatment and research settings and manage a wide range of demographic and medical data on those with cancer. The information is both submitted to and used by state and national cancer registries to enable cancer programs to accurately determine cancer patient populations, measure outcomes of treatment and survival and formulate plans for improvement.

These data are included in numerous publications, including the prestigious "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer," a collaboration of the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, that uses cancer registry data to provide updated information on cancer occurrence and trends.

Taylor Regional Hospital has two cancer registrars, JoAnn Smith and Sam Underwood.

Jo Ann Smith, RHIT, began her career at TRH in March 2000. She is a Western Kentucky University graduate. She worked in health information management as coding team leader until March 2011. At that time she changed career paths and joined the tumor registry.

In 2009, Smith was support services team member of the year. In March, she passed the national certified tumor registry exam and TRH is awaiting confirmation of her new status as CTR.

Smith is also a member of the American Health Information Management Association. She is chair of the TRH Relay for Life team.

Sam Underwood employment at Taylor Regional Hospital began in February 2002. The Taylor Regional Hospital Cancer Registry is a second career for him as he worked as a tumor registrar at the University of Louisville for 14 years.

Underwood works part time at TRH's registry and received his certified tumor registrar status in 1988.

He is an active participant with the state and local Lion's Club eye bank and has been a long-time supporter of the Boy Scouts of America.

The TRH Cancer Program is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program and approved by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.