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July 8, 2011

ULM plays host to unique cancer research organization

As a host organization for the Louisiana Tumor Registry, the University of Louisiana at Monroe is providing support for researchers, health care providers, and cancer prevention and control programs.

The LTR collects and processes cancer incidence data from the state's eight established geographic regions, which are based on Louisiana's historic health districts.

ULM serves as the regional office and host organization to Regions VI, VII and VII, which encompasses northeast, northwest, and central Louisiana parishes.

Since 1987, the ULM registry office has been responsible for obtaining and editing abstracts from hospitals in these three areas.

According to the LTR Web site, about 25 percent of the state's hospitals maintain their own tumor registries, which provide 60 percent of cancer reports.

These include three hospitals in the Alexandria area, four in the Shreveport area, and two in the Monroe area.

As an LTR host organization, ULM staff abstracts data from the remaining hospitals in its region and edits that information, by working with medical records departments to screen for new cases and review medical records.

"The tumor registry, although not widely known, provides an important part in the fight against cancer not only here in Louisiana, but also nationwide," said ULM Registry Director Nadine Johnston.

Millions in state and federal grant funding obtained over the registry's 23-year history has helped support the work of the six-member registry staff under Johnston.

In addition to abstracting and editing, staff must follow path reports back to physicians who care for patients. Each case is followed up every year to determine patient survival; from this, survival statistics can be compiled for each type of cancer.

"The North Louisiana Regional Tumor Registry staff, housed at ULM, pursue all these tasks with diligence, perseverance, and positive attitudes," said Patty Andrews, LTR Liaison in New Orleans. "They are truly dedicated to maintaining high quality standards for cancer reporting, in terms of both completeness and accuracy."

Cancer statistics are available on the LTR Web site at

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