NUMBERS, TUMORS, NAMES….People
As Cancer Registrars, this is the order in which we often think. That is, until the name becomes a person, like our brother, sister, mother, father, neighbor or friend. Then the abstract and each data item has a new meaning. When this happens, it can feel a bit surprising and disconcerting because in our daily routine we are so intent on protecting the patient’s identity it is easy to forget the People.
Studies portray how well our doctors are managing tumors. We look at things like tumor markers, morphology, stage, treatment modalities, remission and survival. Actually, we train ourselves not to pay much attention to the names of the People other than for case finding. Abstracting and follow up can become tasks that are tedious and repetitive and at times tiring.
We all need to remember one important thing: Everything we do matters! Believe it or not we are the movers and the shakers! We bring truth to those who would otherwise only guess. The light of the future in the Cancer War rests in our accurate fingertips. Who does our work most affect? The People!! The People who have to suffer through each step that we so very carefully document. The People who are living and dying, captured in our records, will make a difference in another person’s life because of our work!
Be proud to be a Cancer Registrar!