Abstracting Methods
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Outline, Objectives, and Content Developer Biography


Course Outline

Module 1: Principles of Abstracting

  • Overview of the Abstracting Process
  • Standards for Collecting and Reporting Cancer Data
  • Purpose of Text
  • Additional Resources for the Cancer Registrar
  • Quiz 1
Module 2: Abstracting Diagnostic Procedures
  • Organization of the Medical Record
  • Clinical Examinations
  • Manipulative Procedures
  • Pathological Examinations
  • Quiz 2
Module 3: Instructions for the Collection of Core Data Items
  • Structure of the Data Collection Manuals
  • Patient Identification
  • Cancer Identification
  • Quiz 3

Module 4: Abstracting Major Disease Sites

  • Prostate Carcinoma
  • Lung Carcinoma
  • Breast Carcinoma
  • Colon Carcinoma
  • Melanoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Quiz 4

Final Exam

Information and resource documents for the professional practice experience requirement (160 hours) are also provided in this course.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Understand the general principles of abstracting
  • Interpret the standards for cancer data collection and reporting
  • Identify the components of the medical record
  • Describe common form and reports found in a medical record
  • Understand the structure and content of source documents
  • Describe briefly the methods and procedures used to diagnose cancer
  • Determine what information should be recorded on the cancer registry abstract
  • Apply specific coding instructions for abstracting a medical record
  • Independently abstract major disease sites

Content Developer Biography

Melissa Pearson, CTR
Quality Management Specialist, North Carolina Central Cancer Registry

Melissa Pearson, CTR is a Quality Management Specialist for the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry. The North Carolina Central Cancer Registry is the cancer data center for the population of North Carolina. As a Quality Management Specialist, she is responsible for evaluating and monitoring data quality. She also provides training and technical assistance in all areas of cancer program and cancer registry operations.

Pearson earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Computer Information Systems. She worked as a database manager for a federal government contractor prior to joining the cancer registry at a large Commission on Cancer approved cancer program. She has ten years of cancer registry experience at the hospital and central registry level.

As an active member of the National Cancer Registrars Association, she has served on the Board of Directors (2001-2003), and as chair of the Web site Committee (2003-2005) and Basic Training Subcommittee (2004-2005). She has also been a member of many other committees and task forces including: Governance, Planning and Evaluation (GPEC), Workload Management, AHIMA Online Educational Program, Recruitment and Retention, and Membership.

Pearson is currently the coordinator and instructor for the Association of North Carolina Cancer Registrars’ Training in Cancer Data Collection workshop. She has developed presentations, training materials, and technical documents for various audiences including new cancer registrars, experienced cancer registrars, and health information management students. Her published articles and interviews include the NCRA Journal of Registry Management, The Connection, and Advance for Health Information Professionals. She has received several awards and recognition for her service to the cancer registry profession.


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