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Under the leadership of Faculty Director Andrew Olshan, PhD, the Rapid Case Ascertainment Shared Resource at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center facilitates cancer prevention and control research that requires early contact with patients. Rapid Case is a collaboration between UNC Lineberger, the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry (CCR), and participating hospitals in North Carolina.

Location & Hours

Rapid Case Ascertainment
222 N. Dawson Street
1908 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1908

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Rapid Case Ascertainment (RCA) is an acceleration of the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry’s reporting process for quick identification of cancer patients throughout the state. Hospitals/facilities send pathology reports from 1 to 6 months of a cancer diagnosis.


  • Provide support to study by leveraging the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and local hospitals for rapid case ascertainment.
  • Facilitate cancer prevention and control research that requires early contact with North Carolina patients.
  • Identify potential cases.
  • Allow timely interviewing and biologic specimen collection.
  • Allow researchers to contact patients who live across the state.

The Research Process

  • Researchers should contact Heather Tipaldos, facility director of RCA, to discuss their upcoming project or grant.
  • Every project must receive IRB and CCR approval.
  • Once all approvals are received, the RCA Coordinator contacts registrars or cancer data professionals to formally request data for newly diagnosed cancer patients that meet the study’s eligibility criteria.
  • Registrars from participating hospitals provide pathology reports, demographics and physician contact information of potentially eligible patients within one month of diagnosis.
  • RCA enters eligible patients’ data in its database. This data is delivered to the approved studies weekly.
  • Each studied is required to notify physicians of their intent to contact eligible patients.
  • The projects mail out invitation letters to eligible patients explaining the study and to seek their consent. The invitation letters include brochures outlining CCR’s role in cancer research and prevention.
  • The projects administer their protocol of in-home/telephone interviews, specimen collection etc.


We ask all that the following be included with their acknowledgements in every publication that uses any data generated from participants recruited through RCA:

This research recruited participants &/or obtained data with the assistance of Rapid Case Ascertainment, a collaboration between the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. RCA is supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (P30CA016086).


RCA fees are based on a fee-for-service basis.


Andrew Olshan, PhD
Faculty Director
(919) 966-7424

Heather Tipaldos, MS, CRA
Facility Director
(919) 966-9438

Chandrika Rao, PhD
CCR Director
(919) 792-5946


JoElla Marting, BSN, RN, MIS, CTR
RCA Coordinator
(919) 792-5925

Indumati Tirupatur, MA, M.Phil
Data Assistant
(919) 792-5924

RCA Fax Line: (919) 792-5927