Casefinding Process

Hospital Registry

  • Casefinding for a hospital cancer registry should include procedures for identifying all potentially reportable cancer cases diagnosed and /or undergoing treatment at the facility; this includes inpatient and outpatient visits.
  • Suspense File
    Once a case is reviewed and identified as reportable, it is saved in a temporary database known as a “suspense file” in preparation for abstracting. The “suspense file” serves as a temporary database for incomplete cases waiting for additional workup to be done and entered into the EHR. Registrars often wait for weeks or months and recheck if the data needed are available before completing the abstract.

Coding Tip: Casefinding must be done by all facilities to ensure complete reporting.

Central Registry

  • Casefinding for a population-based (state) cancer registry is to identify every resident in the state’s geographical area with a reportable cancer diagnosis.
  • Death Clearance
    The process of matching registered deaths in a population against reportable conditions in the central cancer registry database in order to achieve
    • Ascertainment of death information for cases in the registry
    • Identification of all deaths with a reportable condition mentioned as a cause of death that are not found in the registry database
    • Reportable cancer cases identified through death certificates only (DCO) must be reviewed by the registrar and if found to be reportable must be abstracted by the registrar and submitted to the state registry.

Impact of Missed Cases

Incomplete casefinding can result in underreporting new incidences of cancer, which impacts data submitted to national and state cancer registries. Noncompliance with reporting requirements, which are mandated by state cancer reporting laws, underestimates the cancer burden in geographic areas within the country.

Updated: December 12, 2023