The CoC Source - June 30, 2011
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Survey Savvy Registration Now Open

Survey Savvy: World Premiere of the 2012 Patient-Centered Standards
September 15-16, 2011
Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa
Hollywood, CA

Register Now!

The Commission on Cancer has spent nearly two years working closely with our cancer program constituents and CoC member organizations to develop a new set of patient-centered standards which will be implemented by CoC-accredited cancer programs beginning January 1, 2012.

To help our programs prepare for this change, we have redeveloped Survey Savvy to create a dynamic two-day workshop that will include a thorough review of the category changes, eligibility requirements, revised standards, and a focus on the value of the new patient-centered standards.

Our presenters include the experts and key members of the CoC leadership who have helped to develop the 2012 standards. Presenters will describe the rationale for and requirements of each standard, illustrate successful methods for implementation and compliance, and share their own best practice experience with you. All of this valuable information will help assist any cancer program in gaining an edge on a successful survey experience!

In addition to the two-day workshop, we've added a half-day, pre-workshop to introduce interested programs to the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS). A special session is also planned for cancer programs seeking initial CoC-accreditation.

If you are a facility administrator or cancer program administrator, clinician or nurse, pain management or palliative care professional, oncology social worker or clinical trials data manager, cancer committee chair, Cancer Liaison Physician, genetic counselor, or cancer registrar, then this workshop is designed specifically for you.

Seating is very limited, REGISTER today!

CoC Flash Now Available for Mobile Phones

The CoC Flash can now be viewed on your mobile phone. To access the mobile version, click on the “Go to mobile version” at the top right corner of the e-newsletter.

Member Organization Cancer Care Initiatives

Each year, the member organization representatives of the CoC are invited to submit reports of their organization’s current cancer care initiatives and areas for collaboration with the CoC. Each report lists the organization's name, year it joined the CoC, mission statement, and website. Other categories include:

•    Major projects and/or key initiatives underway
•    Recently released publications and/or products
•    Scheduled conferences, meetings, and/or educational programs
•    Description of legislative and/or advocacy agenda
•    Emerging issues within the organization that the CoC should become engaged and/or involved in

The reports reflect the organization's current activities and are posted on the CoC website at

You Can Release Your FIPS Level II Data Today!

In the two-and-a-half months since the Facility Information Profile System (FIPS) 2009 Level II Data was posted, 70 percent of CoC-accredited facilities have reviewed the site and stage data table and released it to the CoC Hospital Locator.

There are still over 300 facilities listed in draft form, which means that these data tables have not yet been reviewed.

The data corrections deadline for the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) has passed, but CoC-accredited cancer programs can still release the 2009 FIPS Level II data to the public.

The CoC encourages cancer program staff to discuss these data at the next cancer committee meeting and take action to release the data to the public via the CoC Find an Accredited Cancer Program Near You locator.

To review and release Level II Data:

  • Enter FIPS through CoC Datalinks at
  • Click on the link titled “Level II: Cases Reported to the NCDB by Site and Stage.”
  • Review the data table for accuracy.
  • Secure permission from the cancer committee to release these data.
  • Complete the narrative description about your cancer program. (optional)
  • Indicate your facility’s decision by choosing one of the following:

Accurate Release to CoC
Accurate Do Not Release to CoC
Inaccurate Do Not Release to CoC

Corrections made by programs to their data since the release of the initial 2009 FIPS Level II data table in April are being incorporated into updated tables by the NCDB. Staff at CoC-accredited facilities will receive an e-mail notification with instructions for releasing this updated table when it becomes available.

The CoC asks that you review and release your Level II data at your next cancer committee meeting.

Questions? Contact

CoC Meetings Planned in October

CoC members and State Chairs should SAVE-THE-DATES of October 23-24, 2011 for the CoC meetings which will be held in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress. This year's meeting will be held in San Francisco and the CoC meetings take place at the San Francisco Hilton and Towers Hotel. Invitations, with the complete meeting schedule, will be disseminated in July. If you have questions, please contact Andréa Scrementi at

What’s New on the CAnswer Forum

The CoC, which works continually to improve the usability and features of the CAnswer Forum, announces these enhancements.

The CoC recently developed a document that will allow you to navigate the CAnswer Forum. The features covered include the registration process, how to post a new question, how to reply to a question, and how to use the search function. We have included screen shots as well as a number of tips to help you navigate the system. Please see the pink notice bar that appears on the CAnswer Forum home page and click on the link to review the instruction document on navigating the CAnswer Forum.

Be sure to check out the American Joint Committee on Cancer  (AJCC) on YouTube! The YouTube channel is a new way for the AJCC to present educational information and interact with the oncology and registry community. For your convenience, we have posted the link on the CAnswer Forum. Go to the orange notice box on the home page of the CAnswer Forum.

Have you looked at the Resource section on the CAnswer Forum home page lately? There are a number of articles and pieces of information posted in the FORDS section that will provide help when coding Class of Case. Go to Resource, click on FORDS, then click on title of the item you wish to review. The titles are: Coding and Using the New Class of Case Categories (CoC Webinar), A Simple Paradigm for Assigning Class of Case (Advance), or New Class of Case Definitions Implemented by the American College of Surgeons in 2010 (Journal of Registry Management).

CAnswer Forum Stats
There are a total of 1,075 threads (questions) in the forum.
There are a total of 2,891 posts (answers/replies) in the forum.
The forum now has 3,139 members.

In It to Win It! —June Winners

Congratulations—Sharmen Dye and Paula Chambers

The CoC extends its gratitude to constituents who have shared their knowledge and expertise by answering questions in the CAnswer Forum. Congratulations to our June contest winners—Sharmen Dye from Wenatchee, WA, and Paula Chambers from Olympia, WA.  Sharmen and Paula have their choice of receiving either a free CoC Webinar for 2011 or an AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 7th edition, autographed by the editor.

We will continue to sponsor the In It to Win It! contest, so if you are not already a member of the CAnswer Forum, go to to register today and start answering questions.

Remember…You have to be In It to Win It!

Oncology Roundtable References New CoC Standards for Accreditation

The Advisory Board Company Oncology Roundtable recently released a brief video exploring the renewed focus on accreditation for cancer programs spurred by the update to the CoC standards for accreditation.  Allison Shimooka, managing director of the Oncology Roundtable, states that although the new focus on the development of patient-centered standards is the right thing to do, they will be time and resource intensive to implement.  Cancer program executives will need to make some tough decisions around determining the value of their accreditation program moving forward.  Ms. Shimooka talked about the transition to value-based payment showing early signs of alignment with accreditation programs and how this may serve as the incentive for securing or retaining cancer program accreditation.  Follow the link to view the Oncology Roundtable online video at:

The Oncology Roundtable is a highly respected organization that supports administrators and oncology specialists in elevating clinical quality and patient care services while improving financial performance in cancer care.  Their research focuses on identifying best practices and providing detailed guidance that will impact the future of oncology. 

Learn more about the Oncology Roundtable at:

Abstracting Timeliness and Registry Software Delays

On June 13, the CoC sent out a Special Announcement CoC Flash to cancer registrars, and cancer program administrators related to the timeliness of abstracting 2011 cases caused by delays with software conversions for version 02.03 of the Collaborative Stage Data Collection System. The leadership of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) Accreditation and Quality Integration Committees issued a statement clarifying which cases will be reviewed in 2012 for abstracting timeliness (Standard 3.3) and CAP review (Standard 4.6). The complete version of this special CoC Flash can be viewed at

Annual Update Period—In Preparation for 2012 Standards

As part of the transition to the 2012 Standards, a newly designed Survey Application Record (SAR) will be released to all cancer programs within the next year. The current SAR will eventually be phased out. In order to retain a historical record of program activity, all standards and tables in the SAR must be completed by September 30, 2011 so that all program activity that occurred through June 30, 2011 can be archived. Failure to comply with this request may result in a deficiency at your next survey.

As part of the Annual Update, we require that your cancer program complete and/or update ALL program activity and information in your facility or network's SAR for 2009, 2010, and 2011 (through June 30, 2011). This includes all standards, the Cancer Liaison Physician Activity Report, Facility Information Profile System (FIPS)—(validating sections relevant to program resources and services), as well as the uploading of required and appropriate survey documentation for each year.

The SAR is accessible from CoC Datalinks at The Annual Update period is July 1–September 30.

The 2011 SAR will remain open for program use for a short time after the archive takes place (September 30), and we encourage you to continually update the SAR as a record-keeping tool to document program activities as they occur.

The Commission on Cancer to Expand CoC-trained Consultant Team

The CoC announces the expansion of its trained consultant team for 2012!

Using the 2012 Cancer Program Standards as the impetus for change, the CoC is broadening its trained consultant program.  We are looking for individuals with a variety of cancer program experience who can translate their knowledge to assist cancer programs interested in becoming CoC-accredited. Do you have the tools we need?

Expectations for team members include the following tasks: 1) conduct a minimum of one unique cancer program consultation annually, 2) review documentation provided by the program in advance of the consultation by utilizing multiple tools and reports available, 3) provide a report to the program within 14 days of the consultation. Participation in CoC-sponsored training is also required annually.

The program will accept applications from July 1 – 28, 2011. For more information on this exciting opportunity and to learn more about the role and responsibilities of the CoC-trained Consultant, view the eligibility criteria and job description at

June Update on the Cancer Program Standards (CPS) 2011 Project

The CPS 2011 Leadership Team met in an all day session to make final changes to the proposed Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care. The Accreditation Committee will review and approve the new standards during a conference call scheduled for Monday, July 25. The final version will be available online for download in mid-August. Watch for a special CoC Flash announcing the availability of the new standards. All CoC-accredited programs and those programs seeking accreditation will implement the new standards beginning January 1, 2012.

The following list includes several important changes that have been made to eligibility requirements and standards by the CPS 2011 Leadership Team.

•    An eligibility requirement for Nutrition Services will be added. The content for this requirement will be published in the final manual.
•    Cancer Committee Membership: A cancer registrar can serve as the Cancer Registry Quality Coordinator.
•    Cancer Committee Attendance: The standard has been changed to specify that each required member attend at least 50 percent of cancer committee meetings each year. The option for attendance by a designee has been deleted. A commendation level has been established that specifies that each required member attend at least 75 percent of cancer committee meetings each year.
•    Clinical Trial Screening: This standard has been deleted.
•    A new standard for the public reporting of outcomes has been added to Chapter 1, Program Management. This standard is only for commendation.
•    The standard for assessment of stage, prognostic factors, and treatment planning has been moved to Chapter 4 Patient Outcomes. The standard has been changed to focus on an evaluation of the appropriate evaluation and treatment based on evidence-based national treatment guidelines.
•    CAP protocols: The required compliance percentage has been changed from 95 percent to 90 percent. This is the same rate required in the current manual.
•    Psychosocial Distress Screening: A 2015 phase-in period has been added to this standard.

2012 Initial Survey Notification

By July 1, 2011, this initial survey notification will be electronically sent to all programs due for survey in 2012. This notification will also be posted on the CoC Website ( by July 15, 2011.

The 2012 survey will include cancer program activity for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011. (2010 and the first three months of 2011 will not be part of the abstracting timeliness review.) The 2012 survey will be based on the current version of Cancer Program Standards 2009, Revised Edition, which is located at: The Survey Application Record (SAR) is to be completed with information from 2009 to current date with appropriate electronic documentation provided. The SAR is used by the cancer program to document compliance with the CoC's standards since the last survey. On or around December 1, 2011, you will be notified via e-mail of the assigned surveyor's name, how to access the surveyor's profile, and contact information for scheduling the survey date.

Survey extensions or postponements are discouraged, but if this becomes necessary, the program should review the 'Survey Extension Policy,' on the CoC Website at Extension requests must be submitted in writing to Lisa Landvogt, Administrator, Accreditation and Standards, by August 6, 2011.

The survey fee for 2012 is $7,500 for individual cancer programs or $7,500 plus $3,750 for each facility within a network. An invoice for the survey fee is e-mailed to the cancer registrar at the facility at least one month before the survey takes place. Payment of the fee is due within 30 days after the survey.

Highlighting the 2012 Standards—Eligibility Requirements

All CoC-accredited cancer programs will implement Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care on January 1, 2012. The Commission is providing a series of Webinar presentations and face-to-face workshops that will help programs understand the requirements for and implement the new standards. This is the first in a series of CoC Flash articles that will highlight important information about a standard or eligibility requirement. Watch future issues of the Flash for these highlights.

The Eligibility Requirements. These requirements outline structure and services that are common to all programs,  indicating that the facility is able to provide comprehensive cancer care to patients in a safe environment. Most of the eligibility requirements will be familiar to CoC-accredited programs. They may be part of the current program standards or information that is capture in the Facility Information Profile System. A few have been newly added to address the patient-focused care that is the center point of the new standards.

The cancer committee plays a key role in monitoring and assessing the eligibility requirements. This is an ongoing yearly activity that provides the committee with an opportunity to identify and address new services. The committee can delegate the responsibility to evaluate an eligibility requirement to a department such as nursing, to a designated coordinator such as the psychosocial services coordinator, or to a committee member such as the diagnostic radiologist or medical oncologist.

The program must complete the Eligibility Requirement section of the Survey Application Record annually. This may include indicating the type of service provided and designating if the service is provided onsite or by referral.  Documentation showing that the eligibility requirement has been met will be attached to the Survey Application Record (SAR). The documentation needed for each eligibility requirement is specified in the manual and may include a policy and procedure, table of contents, an attestation letter, and other materials.

All programs due for survey during the following year will be notified of the deadline for completing this section of the SAR. At the end of this deadline, the CoC staff will review the SAR to assess compliance with the eligibility requirements. Programs will be notified by e-mail if information is missing or a section of the SAR is incomplete and will be offered an extension to complete the section. The CoC staff will monitor the extension and will notify programs when they have been released for survey for the following year.

Because the eligibility requirements are so essential to the success of the CoC-accredited program, the accreditation will be suspended if the eligibility requirements are not completed. Although the eligibility requirements are not part of the survey, the Accreditation Committee may designate one or more eligibility requirements each year to be part of the surveyor’s discussion with the cancer committee. This discussion provides an opportunity for the cancer committee to discuss and brainstorm with the surveyor a solution to a challenging issue..

The Cancer Program Standards 2011 Leadership Team and the Accreditation Committee are confident that the creation of the eligibility requirements brings a new focus to these important cancer program structures and services.

Next month—Eligibility Requirements 1–6

HIPAA and Protected Health Information

In concordance with the HIPAA guidelines, the Commission on Cancer cannot accept documentation that includes patient identifying information (protected health information [PHI]). Receipt of PHI violates the Business Associate Agreement between the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the CoC-accredited cancer program.  

This applies to documentation submitted for survey, appeals, and/or deficiency resolutions, such as accession lists, suspense reports, pathology reports, and collected data for studies. 

In compliance with the  HIPAA Privacy and Security Policy, appropriate supervisory and managerial staff of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) will be notified when documentation that includes PHI has been received. The ACS Privacy Official will determine the need for a notification to the CoC-accredited cancer program and disposition of the documentation that includes PHI.  

Programs will be required to remove or block the patient information and resubmit the documentation as soon as possible after receiving notification from the American College of Surgeons Privacy Official.

The Joint Commission Pathology Reporting Requirements Consistent with the CoC

Health care organizations seeking recognition from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) can rely on laboratory accreditation from The Joint Commission (TJC) to be consistent with the pathology reporting requirements that are part of their CoC accreditation.

At this time, the CoC does not have a standard that requires laboratory accreditation. However, CoC Cancer Program Standards 2009: Revised Edition specify that 90 percent of pathology reports that include a cancer diagnosis contain the required data elements outlined on the College of American Pathologist surgical case summary checklists. Further, the CoC encourages CoC-accredited programs to adopt synoptic reporting by awarding a commendation rating for this format.

A recent Joint Commission communication stated that, “Starting July 1, 2011, The Joint Commission survey process for laboratories will verify implementation of synoptic reporting formats in histopathology, thereby complementing the CoC accreditation process. The Joint Commission surveyor will ensure the laboratory has references for how to select and standardize histopathology report elements, which include nationally recognized cancer protocols from the College of American Pathologists (CAP).  Because laboratories with a CoC-accredited cancer program already follow the CoC’s voluntary standards, this does not represent a change in The Joint Commission’s compliance requirements.”

The CoC surveyors will continue to review pathology reports to assess compliance with CoC Standard 4.6.

New E-mail Address for Cancer Liaison Physicians

ATTENTION CLPs! If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, you can now send them to Please allow 24 hours for a response.

Cancer Liaison Physician Information Board Updates

Updates are currently being made to the Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) Information Board. For example, to prepare CLPs for the implementation of new Standard 4.3, Cancer Liaison Physician Responsibilities, a CLP educational series (online Webinars) will be available for viewing within the next 30 days. You will be able to access the educational series through the CLP Educational Resources link on the Information Board. More detailed information on the educational series will be forthcoming. In addition, to assist CLPs in their new role, relevant resource material will be posted on the Information Board. The Information Board can be accessed at

CLPs Look Forward to New Role Under Revised Standards

Beginning in January 2012, the role of the Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) will be enhanced, with a focus on quality of care. New Standard 4.3 provides that the primary responsibility of the CLP will include monitoring, interpreting and reporting the program’s performance using National Cancer Data Base data to evaluate and improve the quality of care at their facility.  Secondarily, the CLP will be responsible for reporting on Commission on Cancer (CoC) activities, initiatives, and priorities to the cancer committee; serving as liaison for the cancer program with the American Cancer Society; and being present during the CoC survey and meeting with the surveyor.

To familiarize the CLPs with their new role, the CoC has developed a series of five brief webinars, which CLPs will need to view during the next year.

More detailed information about the new role and educational requirements will be sent to CLPs in July after the new standards have been finalized. Stay tuned!

Any questions can be directed to Carla Amato-Martz, Cancer Liaison Program Manager, at or 312-202-5529.

Introducing New State Chairs

State Chairs provide leadership to Cancer Liaison Physicians within their state. They are nominated by the state chapters of the American College of Surgeons and appointed to a three-year term by the Committee on Cancer Liaison. The Commission on Cancer introduces the following new state chair(s):

J. Augusto Bastidas, MD
Good Samaritan Hospital
Los Gatos, CA

Thomas Eisenhauer, MD, FACS
Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital
Hendersonville, NC

Robert Krouse, MD, FACS
Southern AZ VA Health Care System
Tucson, AZ

Hannah Wright Hazard, MD, FACS
West Virginia University Hospitals
Morgantown, WV

It’s July: Time to Submit 2001 and 2006 Diagnoses to NCDB

Analytic cancer cases diagnosed in 2001 and 2006 that were updated by the registrar or added to the registry on or after July 1, 2007, must be submitted to NCDB by 12:00 midnight (CDT) on July 31, 2011 for compliance with Standard 3.6. Do not submit cases diagnosed prior to your reference date. 

In addition, cases diagnosed in 2004 or 2007 that had edit problems or were rejected must be corrected and resubmitted by the same time for compliance with Standard 3.7.  You are encouraged to submit early in the month if you are ready.

Registries may also submit cases diagnosed in 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2009, if needed.  These are the cases originally submitted in January and March. The correction date for Standard 3.7 has already passed for these cases.

If you created the submission files for 2001 and 2006 cases prior to June 1, please recreate them before submitting your cases so no updates that you made since then will be lost.  Changes made during June will be pulled for submission next year if they were captured in these files.

REMINDER: If you upgraded your software to layout 12.1 (CS v 02.03) since you last submitted to the NCDB, you will need to download a revised version of GenEDITS Plus and a metafile designed for upgraded data from If you have not yet installed the software upgrade, no change in the editing package is needed.

New Data Completeness and Default Overuse Report Available Soon

The popular Datalinks National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) report, NCDB Data Submissions Reports for 2011, will be posted next week with May submissions and includes some important new additions and visual enhancements.

  • The monthly submissions information is now collapsed. Click on the blue bar to see the contents for any month, or click “Open All” to see all months at once.
  • A full edit report is now available for each file submitted that had any edit errors; click on the number of cases requiring review. No report is posted where there are no errors.
  • In the cumulative section, if there are any unresolved errors in the cases added to the NCDB database the number of cases requiring review is listed (if there are none shown, then all cases added to the NCDB database in 2011 for that diagnosis year are clean). Click on that number to see which cases and which edits remain unresolved. 
  • Click the link in the upper left-hand corner to “Data Submissions and Default Overuse” reports. This new section will help registries evaluate their own reliance on “unknown” codes and other default coding in comparison with other CoC accredited programs. To see the items in each section, click on the “+” prior to the section name or click “Open all.”
  • From here, click the link in the upper left-hand corner to “NCDB Overall Comparison.” Here you will find similar item-specific information for all NCDB records combined, and a table showing the number of out-of-range items by the number of hospitals with that number.
  • See the “Help” link from any of these reports for a document that explains all three reports.

When Will We See Our NCDB Report Updates?

Registries that submitted additional 2009 data that would change their FIPS Level II site by stage reports from those posted in April will be notified when the updates become available later in July.

The Hospital Comparison Benchmark Reports, the Public Benchmark Reports, and the CP3R reports with 2009 diagnoses, and the Survival Reports, with 2003 and 2004 diagnoses, will occur in September after final processing of 2004 submissions and corrections. Because of the flow of the 2011 Calls for Data, only those diagnosis years will be updated at that time. A full update filling in new information from all years in all reports will be made available in March 2012 after all cases due in 2011 have been processed.

RQRS Webinar Available Now On-Demand

The following Webinar is now available for viewing On-Demand.

Move to the Fast Track: Getting Your Cancer Program Ready for the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS)

Course Overview:
The Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) is a new program from the NCDB, designed to promote evidenced-based cancer care at the local level in real clinical time.  Participation in this program is voluntary; enrollment will open in the spring of 2011.  This Webinar will explain how CoC-accredited cancer programs can get ready to enroll and begin to actively participate in the RQRS.  The enrollment process will be briefly reviewed.  Information gathered from alpha and beta test participants explaining how RQRS participation was managed in individual cancer programs will be reported.  Examples and best practices on how beta test participants came to concurrently abstract breast, colon and rectum cases will be shared, as well as the instructions for data submission.  Select benefits and challenges of RQRS participation will also be described. 

Visit the CoC Online Education Portal and register today to view this Webinar at your convenience.

New On-Demand Webinars Coming Soon

Titles include:

1) Quality of Patient Care: Assessment and Measurement in the 2012 Program Standards
2) Program Management: Clinical Trial Screening and Accrual
3) New Cancer Program Standards 2012: Quality Studies and Quality Improvements
4) Cancer Committee Roles and Responsibilities
5) The Cancer Committee’s Role in Evaluation and Reporting
6) Important Accreditation Facts: New Program Categories, Accreditation Awards, and the OAA
7) 2012: Overview of the Survey Process
8) The College of American Pathologists (CAP) Cancer Protocols: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

These titles will be added to the On-Demand registration page as soon as they are available.

Visit the CoC Online Education Portal by clicking on this link:

The AJCC Now on YouTube

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has launched its YouTube channel so be sure to check out the videos available. Click here to check out the AJCC on YouTube right now!

The YouTube channel is a new way for the AJCC to present educational information and interact with the oncology and registry communities. The initial videos posted on the YouTube channel are the popular Staging Moments that go through the staging of a real cancer case. The initial videos will be followed by more Staging Moments and other informative videos. Be sure to “subscribe” to the AJCC channel to be notified when new videos are posted. We encourage use of all the features below the video display, including leaving feedback in the comments section, giving a “thumbs up” if you liked the video, and of course, sharing the video with colleagues. The AJCC will monitor the comments and feedback sections of the individual videos as well as the AJCC channel page for user input and suggestions. If you would like to provide input for future YouTube videos, participate in this short survey at

CS Forum Answers from NCRA to Be Posted on CS Website

At the recent National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) Annual Conference, members of the Collaborative Stage (CS) team presented results of an online test that several hundred registrars participated in prior to the conference. At the NCRA meeting, members of the CS team reviewed the questions, showed the responses, and gave the correct answers along with their rationale. The CS team has posted the questions, answers, and rationales on the CS Website. There are 10 questions for each of the four modules for a total of 40 questions. These modules are a great learning exercise for CS coding and are available at

Invitation to Participate - 2011 CS Reliability Study

You are invited to participate...

…In the 2011 CS Reliability Study that will focus on the Collaborative Stage Data Collection System (CS), v0203.

What does the study involve?

The 2011 CS Reliability Study will test 17 different schemas, which are divided into four groups. Each group will have eight schemas for a total of 10 cases. You will be asked to abstract one group of cases, with the option to complete a second group of cases. Group assignment will be determined by the Reliability website. Four optional practice cases will also be available to complete during the registration process prior to the opening of the study. Completion of all 10 study cases in your group is required, allowing you to gain the most from the study.

Details:  Four optional Practice Cases plus 10 required Study Cases as well as reference documentation (CSv2 Schema List v.02.03, 2010 SEER Coding Manual and 2011 FORDS manual) are provided on the SEER Reliability Website.

What data items will you code?

You will code the following data items for each case:

Primary site, Histology, Date of Dx, Behavior Code, Laterality, LVI (Testis only), CS Tumor Size, CS Extension, CS Lymph nodes, Reg nodes positive, Reg nodes examined, CS TS/Ext Eval CS Lymph nodes, Reg nodes positive, Reg nodes examined, CS Lymph nodes Eval, CS Mets at Dx, CS Mets at Dx-Bone, CS Mets at Dx-Brain, CS Mets at Dx-Liver, CS Mets at Dx-Lung, and CS Mets Eval

All defined SSF’s for each of the 17 schemas tested will be collected. SSF’s required by the CoC and SEER will be required for this study.

When and where will the study take place?

This study, which will be conducted on the SEER Reliability website, will open for participant registration and the practice cases at 8:00 am (EDT) on Monday,  August 29, 2011,, and will close at 11:59 pm (EDT) on Sunday, September 11, 2011. The actual study will open at 8:00 am (EDT) on Monday, September 12  and will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, September 30.

How do I access the study?

The study opens for registration and practice cases at 8:00 am (EDT) on Monday, August 29, 2011.  

If you do not already have an account on the SEER Reliability website, you can follow the instructions below to create a new account at any time. You do not have to wait until September 12, 2011 to request a new account. If you already have an account, nothing more needs to be done until the study opens.  

How do I create a new account on the SEER Reliability website, if necessary?  

If you DID NOT register with the site to take any of the previous Coding Practices Assessment, Reliability, or Mini-Reliability studies, you do not have an account. To obtain a new account:

a.    Go to and click on the link “request a new account from the administrator.”
b.    Enter a username. Your username must be at least four characters (any combination of alpha or numeric characters). Do not use any special characters such as * # &. Do not use spaces.
c.    Enter a password. Your password must be at least six characters (any combination of alpha or numeric characters). Do not use any special characters such as * # &. Do not use spaces.
d.    Re-enter your password.
e.    Enter your name, phone number, and e-mail address.
f.    Re-enter your e-mail address for verification purposes. You will need access to e-mail for the e-mail address you provided in order to complete the New Account Request process.
g.    Choose your institute.   
h.    If you selected hospital as your institute, select the central cancer registry to which your organization reports.
i.    Click Submit Request.
j.    You will receive an e-mail asking you to verify your e-mail address. Click on the link in that e-mail. If that doesn’t work, copy and paste the entire URL into your browser.
k.    Within one business day you will receive another e-mail informing you that your New Account Request has been approved, and you can now log in, or you will receive an e-mail or a phone call requesting further information.
l.    If your account has been approved, go to and enter your username and password to log in.

How do I log on to the SEER Reliability website once I have an account?

If you DID take any of the previous Reliability or Mini-Reliability studies and you already have an account, or you have requested a new account and that request has been approved:

a.    Go to and enter your username and password to log in.
b.    If you have forgotten your password, click on Forgot your password?
c.    If you have forgotten your username, click on Forgot your username?

Once you have successfully logged in with your username and password, you will be taken to the SEER Reliability home page. This page lists dates and times of ongoing and upcoming studies.

How do I register for the new study? Once the study opens for registration and practice cases at 8:00 am (EDT) on Monday, August 29, you can log on to the SEER Reliability website and use the Study selection drop down box at the top of the home page and choose “New Study,” Once you select New Study, you will be brought to the Study Registration page with a drop down stating “Please choose study.” Use this drop down to select 2011 CS Reliability Study and then press “Select Study.” Once this step is completed, you will be asked to verify your current institution.  

How do I code the cases? Once you have successfully logged in and have registered for the 2011 CS Reliability Study, click on the Cases menu item on the left side of your screen. Choose either the Practice Cases or the Regular Cases menu item and follow the instructions in the User Guide section, which will be displayed when you begin coding the cases on the SEER Reliability website.


For further information, contact Jennifer  Ruhl at or Lynda Douglas at

Thank you.

Oncology Roundtable Identifies NAPBC as First Tumor Site-Specific Accreditation Program

The Advisory Board Company Oncology Roundtable recently identified the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) as “the first tumor site-specific accreditation program creating a lot of energy and excitement within the cancer community, as programs/centers that have had great breast programs for a long time now have a way to become recognized,” according to Allison Shimooka, managing director at the Oncology Roundtable. To view the Oncology Roundtable online video, go to

The Oncology Roundtable is a highly respected organization that supports administrators and oncology specialists in elevating clinical quality and patient care services while improving financial performance in cancer care. Their research focuses on identifying best practices and providing detailed guidance that will impact the future of oncology.

To learn more about the Oncology Roundtable, go to



Pursuing Excellence through Accreditation Workshop—November 18, 2011

Mark your calendar! The NAPBC is organizing a full-day workshop, “Pursuing Excellence through Accreditation,” which will be held at the American College of Surgeons headquarters in Chicago on Friday, November 18, 2011. At the workshop, NAPBC board members, surveyors, and staff will provide  detailed information regarding the NAPBC components and standards, survey process, and the new quality measures and related requirements scheduled for implementation in January 2012. Attendance at this workshop will assist centers applying for accreditation, as well as centers due for reaccreditation in 2012 and beyond. 

Most importantly, there will be a detailed presentation specific to the NAPBC components and standards, including what is required in order to comply with each standard. The workshop will also incorporate any changes to the standards so that there is a clear understanding of what is expected and how it will be measured. Another detailed presentation titled, “What to Expect on the Day of Survey,” will walk you through a site-visit from a surveyor perspective. Learn about what the surveyor is looking for during different parts of the survey.   

Pursuing Excellence through Accreditation is designed for individuals involved in the delivery of multidisciplinary breast health care, including physicians, nurses, administrators, cancer registry professionals, and others involved in the day-to-day operations of the breast center.

If you are interested in attending this comprehensive workshop and would like to be placed on a waiting list, contact the NAPBC administrative office at 312-202-5185, or by e-mail at  Registration will open on August 1, 2011.

NAPBC Components and Standards Webinar Offered On-Demand

The NAPBC Webinar—NAPBC Components and Standards—is now available as an on-demand recording. This 60-minute Webinar provides a comprehensive overview of the 17 components of care and the 27 standards that are required for NAPBC accreditation. The presentation includes a detailed discussion related to the definition and requirements for each standard, documentation required in order to meet compliance with each standard, and the rating system for each standard.

You will find this on-demand Webinar at: You may purchase it for $50.

For registration support, please call 1-800-274-9390 or e-mail

NAPBC Exhibit Schedule—Fall 2011

The NAPBC will host an exhibit at the following meetings:

ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium 2011
September 8–10, 2011
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco, CA

American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress
October 23–27, 2011
Moscone Convention Center
San Francisco, CA

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
December 6–10, 2011
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, TX

If you plan to attend these meetings and have questions, or wish to pick up an NAPBC Information Kit, stop by any one of these exhibits.  

To learn more about the NAPBC, visit, e-mail, or call 312-202-5185.

New, Simple Guide Explains How the Affordable Care Act Helps Cancer Patients and their Loved Ones

The American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network have produced a new, consumer-friendly guide that describes how provisions of the Affordable Care Act help people with cancer and their families.

Featuring the stories of three people who have battled cancer or lost a loved one to the disease, the guide describes how provisions of the law improve the quality of care and make health care more affordable, accessible, and easier for patients to understand.

The guide is part of ongoing efforts to educate the public about the law and its benefits for cancer patients, survivors, and their families. The law, while not perfect, will meaningfully improve the health care system for people with cancer and save lives.

The guide can be viewed on the Society’s website via the link below:


2011 American College of Oncology Administrators 4th Annual Update

“Achieving Excellence in the New Healthcare Era” was the theme for the American College of Oncology Administrators (ACOA) fourth annual conference, hosted at the American College of Surgeons Conference Center in Chicago, IL, June 23-24.  The sessions for this year’s conference were designed to provide strategies to address the multiple challenges oncology administrators face in providing quality cancer care.  Program topics included strategic planning, marketing and budgeting, breast cancer care delivery, disease management models, new Commission on Cancer accreditation standards, survivorship, and a legislative update. 

This past year ACOA has been working to expand both the number and depth of its external partnerships.  To its longtime collaboration with the Commission on Cancer, ACOA has added relationships with the American Cancer Society, Oncology Nurses Society, Lance Armstrong Foundation (LiveStrong), and the National Cancer Registrars Association.  In addition ACOA launched its own newsletter one year ago.  The newsletter aims to keep members well informed about current issues impacting oncology programs. 

ACOA was founded in 1992 as a national College of the American Academy of Medical Administrators (AAMA).  Its mission is to promote the advancement of oncology administration and to foster the professional well-being, needs, and development of its members within its specialty of oncology administration.

The College, one of six AAMA specialty Colleges, is composed of professionals dedicated to providing excellent care to their oncology patients.  ACOA’s main focus is to provide tools and resources for oncology administrators and managers in all types of healthcare facilities.  To learn more about ACOA please visit our website:


CTR Exam Scheduled for September 10–24; Application Deadline Is August 1

The Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR®) credential demonstrates a command of the technical knowledge and experience needed for effective cancer data management. The credential is nationally recognized in the recruitment and retention of registry personnel. Eligible candidates can take the CTR exam during two, two-weeklong testing periods. The next exam period is September 10–24. The application deadline is August 1.

The biannual CTR exam is composed of 250 multiple-choice items in the areas of registry organization and operations; concepts of abstracting, coding, and follow-up; data analysis and interpretation; and application of coding and staging principles. Test questions are prepared by cancer registry professionals from diverse backgrounds and job descriptions. To learn more, go to

The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) offers several opportunities to prepare for the CTR exam, including a day-and-a-half workshop and a webinar series.

CTR Prep Exam Workshop

The CTR Exam Prep Workshop will be held August 6–7 in Baltimore, MD. Space is limited, so register soon. Designed to prepare candidates for the exam, the workshop is facilitated by Donna Gress, RHIT, CTR, and Louise Schuman, MA, CTR—two knowledgeable and experienced instructors who have developed an agenda to provide a comprehensive and thorough review of all exam topics.

Workshop registrants also receive complimentary registration to the three-part CTR Exam Readiness Webinar Series, exclusive access to online help from exam instructors after the workshop, and an opportunity to network with other workshop attendees to share tips and ideas for studying for the exam.

CTR Exam Readiness Webinar Series

The National Cancer Registry Association offers a three-part CTR Exam Readiness Webinar Series. The one-hour sessions will focus on computers, statistics, and epidemiology, and CTR exam tips. Webinars are scheduled for August 11, 18, and 25 at 2:00 pm (EDT). You can register for one Webinar or all three.

To learn more about the workshop and webinar series or to register, go to



Monthly Spotlight: American College of Radiology

The Commission on Cancer regularly collaborates with over 50 member organizations in its mission to provide quality cancer care. This month we introduce the American College of Radiology (ACR).

The mission of the ACR is to serve patients and society by maximizing the value of radiology, radiation oncology, interventional radiology, nuclear medicine, and medical physics by: advancing the science of radiology; improving the quality of patient care; positively influencing the socioeconomics of the practice of radiology; providing continuing education for radiology and allied health professions; and conducting research for the future of radiology.

Mammography Saves Lives Campaign
In response to the controversy sparked by the 2009 USPSTF breast-screening guidelines, the ACR Commission on Breast Imaging, the SBI and the American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD) collaborated to create and promote a new campaign, Mammography Saves LivesTM, which seeks to encourage annual mammography screening for women, beginning at age 40. The campaign was launched in the fall of 2010 in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The campaign’s website,, features testimonials from breast-cancer survivors and informative podcasts from Carol Lee, MD, FACR, W. Phil Evans, MD, FACR and Gail S. Lebovic, M.D., FACS, ASBD president.

Since the campaign’s launch in the fall, the television PSAs (See have aired more than 10,000 times on TV stations nationwide and have been viewed by nearly 27 million people. The radio PSAs have aired 2,200 times on radio stations across the country, reaching 10 million people. Traditional radio ads have aired 3,600 times and have reached 5.5 million listeners. Satellite radio airings on the ABC Radio Network, Disney Radio, Urban Radio Network, and various Sirius/XM radio stations have connected with nearly 40 million listeners.

For more information on this organization, please contact:
Pamela A. Wilcox, RN, MBA, Assistant Executive Director, 1891 Preston White Drive, Reston, VA 20191
Phone: 703-715-3495
Email: | Web Address:

Monthly Spotlight: Association of Oncology Social Work

The Commission on Cancer regularly collaborates with over 50 member organizations in its mission to provide quality cancer care. This month we introduce the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW).

The mission of the AOSW is to advance excellence in the psychosocial care of persons with cancer, their families, and caregivers through 1) advocacy, 2) education, 3) networking, 4) research, and 5) resource development.  The AOSW seeks to accomplish its goals by increasing awareness of the psychosocial effects of cancer, advancing the practice of psychosocial interventions that enhance quality of life and recovery of persons with cancer and their families, fostering communication and support among psychosocial oncology care givers, furthering the study of psychological and social effects of cancer through research and continuing education, advocating for programs and policies to meet the psychosocial needs of oncology patients and their families, promoting liaison activities with other psychosocial oncology groups and professional oncology organizations and promoting the highest professional standards and ethics in the practice of oncology social work care.

Patient access to care:  Financial and logistical access to care continues to be key barrier to treatment, compliance and activities of daily life.  Tactics to address these barriers include improved access to resources (SWON, POWER); education of and referral to patient assistance programs and partnerships with pharmaceutical partners.

Patient navigation: Navigating the cancer care continuum is continuing to be more and more complex. As more resources and personnel are targeting this are, there is more of a need for training and education of these navigators to ensure more comprehensive and consistent service delivery. AOSW is targeting this audience as consumers for training and professional affiliation.

Veterans with cancer: Veterans continue to be an underserved population and their numbers continue to grow. Targeted partnership efforts are underway to do research with oncology social workers on this topic and then to implement creation of resources and materials for patients as well as caregivers in this population.

AOSW President: Lisa Marquette Porat, MSW, LCSW,OSW-C
AOSW President-elect: Ann Fairchild, LCSW
AOSW Secretary: Bettye Bradsaw, MSW, LCSW
AOSW Treasurer: Sean Hebbel, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C          

Event Information:
28th AOSW Annual Conference “Navigating a New World: Revolutions in Psychosocial Care"
The Westin Boston Waterfront
Boston, MA
May 30-June 1, 2012

Recent Publications and/or Products:
Smolinski, K.M., & Colón, Y. (2011). Palliative care with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients. In T. Altilio & S. Otis-Green (Ed.), Textbook of Palliative Social Work. New York: Oxford University Press. Colón, Y. (in press). End of life care. In S. Gehlert & T. Arthur (Eds.), Handbook of Health Social Work, 2nd Ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Zebrack, B. (In Press). Psychological, Social and Behavioral Issues for Young Adults with Cancer, Cancer.

"Addressing the Psychosocial Needs of Cancer Survivors: Penny Block, PhD, Kim Day, LISW, OSW-C and Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies: Vol 16 No. 4 August 2010

Altilio, T. & Otis Green, S. (EDS), (2011) Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work, New York, New York Oxford University Press

For more information on this organization, please contact:
Jessica Widing, Account Manager, 100 North 20th Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-599-6093 | Fax: 215-564-2175
Email: | Web Address: