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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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DHMC Cancer Registry

Cancer Registrar: Laura Sims-Larabee, BS, CTR, (603) 653-9029
Cancer Registrar: Darlene Austin, CTR, (603) 653-9027
Case Finding: Linda Holbrook, (603) 653-9028


The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Cancer Registry has been in existence since 1958. The Registry collects information on the demographics, cancer stage, treatment, and survival of all patients who are diagnosed at DHMC or receive any part of their initial course of cancer treatment at our locations in Lebanon, Manchester, or St. Johnsbury.

Abstracting and follow-up procedures

Within 180 days after the initial identification of a new patient with cancer, the medical record is reviewed to collect complete information regarding the diagnosis, cancer stage, and treatment. The 180-day lag period allows for completion of any treatment planning and for the filing of all treatment documents in the medical record. All patients are followed annually for vital status.

Coding standards

All DHMC Cancer Registry data are coded according to the standards established by the American College of Surgeons. These codes are widely accepted as the standard for cancer registries throughout the United States.

The SEER General Summary Staging scheme was developed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and has been used since 1973, allowing for direct comparison of SEER cancer stages across many years. Prior to 1973, cancer stages were recorded as localized, regional, or distant metastases. The SEER stages are defined as: localized disease, regional extension to adjacent tissues, extension to regional lymph nodes, and metastatic disease.

The TNM staging scheme was used since its inception in 1988 through 2003. The TNM staging scheme has been updated several times since then, making direct comparison of TNM stages across several years a difficult procedure.

In 2004, Collaborative Staging, established by the American College of Surgeons, was introduced. Collaborative Staging involves the collection of site-specific information necessary for conversion algorithms. The SEER and TNM stages are then derived, thus providing the "best stage" utilizing all available information.

Annual reports

Reports of DHMC cancer statistics are published annually by the Registry. To request an annual report, please contact any member of the registry staff, listed above.

Data requests

One of the primary functions of the DHMC Cancer Registry is to provide useful, up-to-date information to DHMC investigators, administrators, and clinicians. In order to provide this information in an expeditious and accurate manner, it is essential that the data request parameters be clearly understood by the Registry staff. We have several "standard" reports available within our registry software, and we are also able to write reports addressing specific criteria. Please contact any member of the registry staff, listed above, to discuss your individual situation.