The CoC Source - December 8, 2011
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CoC Welcomes New Member Organizations

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) announces the appointment of the Hematology Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) and the National Accreditation Program of Breast Centers (NAPBC) as its newest organizational members. This brings the total number of CoC member organizations to 49.  We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with these organizations and benefit from their knowledge and input into our programs. A representative from each organization will be appointed to serve on a committee of the CoC and be involved in activities that impact all of the member organization representatives beginning in 2012. 

HOPA, located in Glenview, IL, is a not-for-profit professional organization launched in 2004 that helps oncology and hematology pharmacy practitioners and their associates provide the best possible cancer care. The NAPBC represents a consortium of national, professional organizations dedicated to the improvement of the quality of care and monitoring of outcomes of patients with diseases of the breast, and is located at the American College of Surgeons in Chicago.  We look forward to collaborative opportunities with these organizations.

Review Recent Updates on CoC Activities

The meetings of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) were held in October in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress.  Agendas and presentations for the CoC Annual Meeting, Cancer Liaison Program Breakfast, Member Organization Representatives Meeting, and the Sate Chair Town Hall Meeting are all posted on the CoC website at  Please feel free to download the agendas and review the presentations for updates on all aspects of the CoC.  In addition, the CLP Breakfast Meeting was recorded and the video/audio is available on the CoC website at

A communication was sent to all CoC-accredited cancer programs on November 11 regarding the role of the cancer committee in implementing the new standards for accreditation.  In addition, a brief PowerPoint presentation was provided reviewing the new standards.  Cancer liaison physicians are encouraged to deliver the presentation to the cancer committee at their next meeting or convene a special meeting to focus on a review and discussion about the new standards.  These materials are located on the CoC website at

CoC Standards Featured in National Cancer Institute Research to Reality Cyber Seminar Series

Ensuring the Delivery of Patient-Centered Cancer Care is the topic being presented as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Research to Reality (R2R) cyber-seminar series on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (EST).

Connie Bura, Administrative Director for Cancer Programs at the Commission on Cancer (CoC), and Teresa Ponn, CoC New Hampshire State Chair and member of the New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Control Collaboration, will outline the evidence and details of the CoC’s new patient-centered standards and include strategies to link the patient-centered standards and their implementation at the community level with the objectives of comprehensive cancer control plans. 

Register Today!

Please click on the following link for more information and to register for this event:

Following registration, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with the toll-free number, web URL, and participant passcode. This cyber-seminar will be archived on the Research to Reality website at approximately one week following the presentation.

Cyber-Seminar Archive

If you have missed any of the past cyber-seminars, you can view them all on the R2R Archive.  Watch the presentations, and join in the discussions

For more information on the cyber-seminar series, please e-mail

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the National Cancer Act

Senate Bill 1828, which was enacted on December 23, 1971,  strengthened the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct a national effort against cancer.  The bill created the National Cancer Program, which has the following mandates:

•    The NCI director develops the program with the help of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), a presidentially appointed committee of 18 members, including distinguished scientists as well as laypersons.  The NCAB also has 12 ex-officio members from other government agencies.
•    A three-member panel, the President’s Cancer Panel (PCP), reviews the program by holding periodic public hearings and submitting an annual progress report directly to the president.
•    The annual budget of NCI, called the bypass budget, is submitted directly to the president, bypassing traditional approval by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the Department of Health and Human Services required of other NIH institutes.
•    The NCI director and members of the NCAB and PCP are presidential appointees.
•    The director of NCI was given additional authorities, in consultation with NCAB, under the act that include:
o    Create new cancer centers and manpower training programs
o    Appoint advisory committees, allowing the director to explore new issues/opportunities
o    Expand the physical location at NIH and other research facilities across the country
o    Award contracts for research
o    Collaborate with other federal, state, or local public agencies and private industry
o    Conduct cancer control activities
o    Establish an international cancer research data bank that collects, catalogues, stores, and disseminates results of cancer research
o    Award research grants

The organizational members of One Voice Against Cancer (which includes the Commission on Cancer ) is sponsoring a resolution that recognizes the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971 and the more than 12 million cancer survivors alive today because of our nation’s commitment to cancer research.  Since the National Cancer Act became law in 1971, the five-year survival rate for all cancers combined has risen consistently and is now at 68 percent for adults and 80 percent for children and adolescents, up from 50 percent and 52 percent, respectively, in 1971.  These results are a result of the nation’s commitment to cancer research and our enhanced understanding about the nature of cancer, its complexity, and the tools needed to fight this disease effectively. We must build upon these successes by focusing on early detection, innovative technologies, and promising scientific breakthroughs in patient treatment, such as personalized medicine.

American College of Surgeons Advocacy Summit - March 26-27 in Washington, DC

Attend the American College of Surgeons Advocacy Summit, March 26-27, 2012 in Washington, DC. Click here for more information.   

Interested surgeons who have a unique perspective on how federal legislation will impact the way they practice medicine and treat patients should consider attending the American College of Surgeons Advocacy Summit.  Surgeons can add their voice to the debate on issues ranging from Medicare physician payment and liability reform, to quality improvement and surgical workforce.  The Advocacy Summit (formerly JSAC) provides surgeons with the opportunity to come to Washington and make sure elected officials know how their actions affect the surgical community!   

The Summit will kick-off on Monday, March 26th, following the ACS Leadership Conference, with intensive advocacy training and issue briefings to prepare for Tuesday, when meetings with federal legislators will take place.  This is the most important part of the conference, so please plan to leave Washington no earlier than 4:00 pm.   

Registration for the first annual American College of Surgeons Advocacy Summit will open in December. Registration information will be available in the coming weeks.  Visit for more information.  

CoC Communications Targeted to CoC-Accredited Cancer Programs

Between now and the January 2012 issue of the CoC Flash, colleagues in CoC-accredited cancer programs should be on the lookout for special issues of the CoC Flash on the following topics: 

  • The NCDB 2012 Call for Data - 2010 Cases 
  • Updates to the NCDB Reporting Tools 
  • New Category Assignments for Select CoC Programs
  • Compliance Criteria for New Standards 4.4 and 4.5 - Accountability and Quality Improvement Measures

Comprehensive Cancer Control National Partnership

Comprehensive cancer control (CCC) is a systematic approach for maximizing resources, reducing duplication of effort, and focusing on evidence-based interventions across the continuum of cancer control. The Comprehensive Cancer Control National Partnership (CCCNP) has existed for more than 10 years as a collaborative group of diverse national organizations working together to build and strengthen comprehensive cancer control efforts across the nation. The mission of the CCCNP is to develop and sustain implementation of CCC plans at the state, tribe, territory, U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdictions, and local levels. As a national partner, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) provides support to the CCCNP for two national meetings each year, and CoC representatives participate in work groups and meetings. At its most recent meeting on November 16-17, in Atlanta, GA, the CCCNP assessed progress on its strategic plan, discussed state coalition issues and trends, identified state coalition technical assistance needs, and set technical assistance and training priorities for 2012.

The CCCNP strategic plan consists of five priority areas:

1.    Provide technical assistance and training to coalitions on implementing their CCC plan priority strategies
2.    Identify and implement policy approaches to assist in the implementation of CCC
3.    Establish communication mechanisms on CCC National Partnership initiatives
4.    Facilitate the exchange of information between CCC coalitions
5.    Summarize and report on progress made through the CCC movement
6.    Sustain the CCC National Partnership as a model for collaboration

To facilitate implementation of its goals, the CCCNP maintains four workgroups: Communications, Evaluation, Technical Assistance and Training, and Policy. Each partner organization participates in a workgroup and provides resources as needed. 

The Communications Workgroup spearheaded the development of a recently launched public CCCNP website,, which provides information about the CCCNP and its activities.  The site shares news, resources, and tools that may be useful to CCC coalitions. In addition, the site provides links to other Internet sites for informational purposes and the convenience of its users.

A major initiative of the CCCNP is to provide technical assistance to state coalitions. Coalition technical assistance needs were identified as a result of several evaluations and surveys conducted by the CCCNP and individual partner organizations. Needs for technical assistance fell into two categories: (1) coalition management (for example, supporting coalition leadership, motivating and sustaining volunteer involvement, and effective strategic planning) and (2) specific CCC-related knowledge and skills (for example, evaluation, performance measurement, and collaboration skills). The CCCNP is currently finalizing a Technical Assistance and Training Strategy Plan. Priority areas for 2012-2014 include:

•    Effective CCC coalition management
•    Effective strategic planning
•    Components of successful coalitions
•    Evidence-based policy and systems change interventions for CCC coalitions
•    Choosing and incorporating policy and systems change into CCC coalition efforts
•    Leveraging Affordable Care Act cancer-related provisions
•    CCC and chronic disease collaboration steps and tools

A number of webinars, on-site trainings, and online assessment tools will be developed and offered to state coalitions in the coming two years.

CoC-accredited programs are encouraged to visit the CCCNP website and the Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. website ( to view their state’s cancer plan. Accredited programs have many opportunities to become involved in their state coalition and support implementation efforts at the local level.

Status of the Survey Application Record (SAR)

Thank you to all the  members who participated and completed their annual update activities in the Survey Application Record (SAR) this year. This involved the upload of a considerable amount of information, but your work is much appreciated and warranted since historical information will NOT be transferred over to the new SAR for the 2012 standards, and these years of activity will need to be reviewed as part of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 surveys.

The SAR will be closed all day Monday, December 19, 2011, and half a day (until noon – CST) on Tuesday, December 20 to support enhancements to the application for 2012 surveys.  Programs will still be able to update the SAR with 2011 cancer program activity and appropriate documents (for example, minutes and conference grids) throughout 2011 and through mid-year of 2012.  Programs scheduled to be surveyed in 2012 will be able to edit the survey SAR and upload additional documents through the time of their survey. 2012 surveys will include cancer program activity from 2009, 2010, and 2011 (with the exception of abstracting timeliness; only 2009 and 2011—second, third, and fourth quarters—will be reviewed). 

With implementation of the new standards, 2012 cancer program activities will be entered into the NEW SAR, which is scheduled to become available in mid- 2012. 

Highlighting the 2012 Standards Chapter 1: Program Management

After exploring 9 standards in the Program Management chapter, 3 standards remain to complete the first chapter in the new manual.  The final standards relate to education and public reporting of outcomes.  As a reminder, all standards in this chapter are the responsibility of the cancer committee as they help the committee to coordinate, assess, and lead the cancer program to provide the highest quality care close to home.

Let’s explore the final 3 standards in chapter 1.

Standard 1.10 Clinical Educational Activity
Through this standard the CoC ensures that the cancer care team members are provided the most current knowledge available to care for patients with cancer.  Educational topics include; cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, stage, treatment guidelines, prognostic factors, treatment, and follow up care. One educational activity is required annually.  Additional activities are encouraged.

The educational activity can be a review of a single cancer site or a general presentation but stage, prognostic indicators and evidence-based guidelines for treatment planning must be addressed. This educational activity excludes cancer conferences in any format, and is to be offered physicians, nursing and allied health professionals. We encourage programs to apply for CME credits for this activity.

Documentation of the educational activity is uploaded to the Survey Application Record (SAR).  We encourage programs to use the SAR as a tracking tool and upload documentation throughout the accreditation period, however, the SAR must be completed and documentation attached prior to the survey.

Documentation showing compliance may include the description of the program and educational objectives, an overview of the content presented including the use of prognostic indicators and evidence-based national guidelines used in treatment planning or a published notice or agenda for each year.

Standard 1.11 Cancer Registrar Education
Ongoing education is essential for all cancer registry staff, CTR and non CTR alike, and includes full time and part time workers as well as contract staff and management and supervisory personnel.  Education adds to general cancer knowledge related to diagnostic and treatment trends as well as patient survival experience and other outcomes.  Along with this, it is important for registry staff to become familiar with new data collection requirements and methods which facilitates accurate data collection. 

Cancer registry staff are encourage to take advantage of a full scope of educational offers each year.  Attending local education activities via face to face meetings or webinars are two options, though cancer conferences are excluded.  Attending a regional or state meeting or symposium are good opportunities to network with peers along with gaining knowledge and skill.  Also important is the option to attend a national meeting which allows for exposure to national issues and speakers as well as an opportunity to network with peers on a national level. 

The program is eligible for commendation for this standard which will be included in the CoC Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) criteria.  To earn Commendation all cancer registry staff participate in a cancer-related educational activity annually, and all CTR staff attend a national or regional cancer-related meeting once during the 3-year survey cycle.  Note that you must fulfill both portions of the criteria to meet commendation.

The program uses the SAR to document the educational activity for each member of the registry staff and uploads documentation of attendance which is reviewed by the surveyor during the survey.  Documentation can take many forms.  The meeting agenda, confirmation of registration, certificate of attendance, or the CE certificate are all acceptable.

Standard 1.12 Public Reporting of Outcomes

With the transparency in health care today cancer programs are encouraged to provide the public with a report of their experience and outcomes with cancer.  This is such an important initiative that only a commendation rating was defined for this standard.  As such, this standard is part of the CoC OAA criteria.  To earn commendation the cancer committee develops and disseminates a report to the public of patient or program outcomes each year.

The report includes outcome information on one or more standard in chapter four of the 2012 manual.  Specifically, prevention programs, screening programs, accountability measures, quality improvement measures, assessment of evaluation and treatment planning, studies of quality or quality improvements may be chosen.  The information may be disseminated to the public (those outside the facility) electronically on the facility’s Webpage, or in print which includes newsletter, magazines, or the newspaper.  Regardless of the method used, the report must be distributed to an external audience.

The report for each year is uploaded to the SAR and this is reviewed by the surveyor at the time of the survey.

Next month – Chapter 2: Clinical Services

Cancer Liaison Physician Terms Expiring January 1, 2012

Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) serve a three-year term and are eligible to serve an unlimited number of terms based on performance and evaluation data collected at the time of survey. The terms of more than 200 CLPs will expire on January 1, 2012, and each cancer committee must determine whether the current CLP is appropriately and willing to serve in the newly defined role or if another candidate would better suit the position. Information about the new role of the CLP is posted on the CLP Information Board

The CoC will send letters via e-mail to the cancer committee chairs of programs with a CLP whose term is expiring; cancer registrars will be notified as well. The facility must either reappoint the CLP for another three-year term or recommend a replacement to fill the role. The letter will provide instructions on how to do this.

Please use this time to update and confirm your CLP's contact information in the CoC’s database. We also accept assistant e-mail addresses to add to our CLP record.

Important Reminders for Accredited Programs:
Following a new CLP appointment, the facility must update the staff contact information in the SAR located within the CoC Datalinks application.

CLPs can be replaced at any point during their three-year term. If a facility’s cancer committee would like to replace its CLP, a CLP Membership Application Form should be completed at

Please note:  A facility cannot appoint a new CLP by simply changing contact information within CoCDatalinks; the CoC must receive a signed application.

Cancer Liaison Physician Appointments

Have you ever wondered what happens when you submit a Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) application?

Here is the process for appointing a CLP:

1.    The facility submits an electronic or faxed CLP application.
2.    The CoC receives the application and processes it on the first day of the following month.
3.    The new CLP is entered into the Commission on Cancer’s (CoC) database.
4.    An e-mail announcement is sent to the cancer committee, CoC State Chair, and American Cancer Society Representative.
5.    A letter of appointment and reference information is e-mailed to the new CLP.
6.    If the CLP is with an accredited facility, an e-mail is sent with a temporary CoC Datalinks user ID and password.  NOTE:  It is imperative that a working e-mail address is provided.  An incorrect or non-working email address will delay this process.

If your facility is having a survey before the first of the following month, please e-mail  to have your application processed immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) Role

How long does my CLP have to participate in the webinar series?
Your CLP will have three months from appointment or reappointment date to complete the orientation webinar and six months
from appointment or reappointment date to complete any other required webinar. However, because the new standards will become effective January 1, 2012, the remaining four webinars in the current educational series should be completed by that date so that CLPs can be fully apprised of their new role by the implementation date.

I have two CLPs at my facility; do they both have to complete the webinar series?
Yes. The webinar series is designed to provide details on how to fulfill the duties of the CLP role.  Each CLP will need to be knowledgeable about what is expected of them to meet the new Standard 4.3.

My CLP is being reappointed at the end of the 2011 cycle. Does the appointee have to complete the webinar series by January 1?
Yes, your CLP should complete the webinar series to support compliance with the new standard.

How much additional time commitment will Standard 4.3 require of CLPs?
The answer to this question depends on the particular facility and the level of expertise of the CLP. Those CLPs who are familiar with the NCDB reporting tools and interpreting data should not have to spend much time accessing and analyzing the reports. Those who are not as familiar with NCDB tools may need to spend additional time up front to become familiar with them and how to interpret them. NCDB and CLP staff are always available to assist CLPs in accessing and interpreting the data.

How do I access the webinars?
Detailed instructions are provided on the CoC website on the CLP Information Board. The instructions are easy and step by step to successfully access and view the webinars. For more information, go to

Why can’t I access the webinars with my user ID and password?
The webinars are hosted by a website separate from CoC Datalinks.  You must create a separate account on the CoC Online Education Portal to gain access to the webinars.  You may use the same user ID and password as you use in CoC Datalinks to minimize remembering different login information.

What is the webinar access code?
The access code to acquire the webinars free of charge is cocclp.

My time is very limited, and I might not be able to watch five webinars; can the cancer registrar at my facility complete the webinar series for me?
While it is permissible for other cancer program staff to view the webinars, it is required that CLPs complete the webinar series themselves. In developing the webinars, due consideration was given to the extremely busy schedules of our CLPs. Therefore, there is no webinar in the series that is longer than 15 minutes. You’ll find that the webinars contain useful information and details regarding the implementation of the new CLP role.

Cancer Liaison Physicians in non-CoC Accredited Programs

In an effort to enhance its outreach to Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) in non-CoC-accredited cancer programs, the Cancer Liaison Program conducted a survey last fall to determine the activities of the CLPs serving in these facilities. The CoC database identified 158 CLPs serving in non-accredited programs. E-mails were sent to all 158 physicians requesting that they complete a 17-question survey. Of these, 52 CLPs responded to the survey, and 19 e-mails were undeliverable. All the respondents indicated that they were a member of, and attended, cancer committee meetings in their facilities.  Highlights of the survey included the following responses:

•    92 percent of respondents reported that they were assisting in preparing their program for CoC accreditation.
•    53 percent reported that they were involved on some level with their local American Cancer Society.
•    Many of the respondents indicated that they participated in such activities  as delivering monthly cancer-related talks in the community, participating in cancer-related community fundraising activities, community outreach, involvement in their local American College of Surgeons chapter, and serving as chair or vice-chair of the facility’s accreditation committee, cancer committee, QI committee, or task forces.
•    89 percent of the facilities were preparing for CoC accreditation
•    68 percent of the respondents were American College of Surgeon (ACS) members, and most of these were involved in their local ACS chapter
•    77 percent of the CLPs were aware of the new Standard 4.3 that outlines the responsibilities of the Cancer Liaison Physician in CoC-accredited cancer programs
In 2012, the Cancer Liaison Committee will develop an outreach plan to maintain contact with CLPs in non-accredited programs.

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.

Join the 15 Percent!

Nearly 15 percent of CoC-accredited cancer programs have chosen to adopt the CoC’s newest reporting and quality improvement tool, the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS), released in September, and participation is increasing daily.  The RQRS provides real clinical time assessment of a cancer program’s adherence to NQF-endorsed quality of cancer care measures for breast and colorectal cancers. Programs participating in RQRS can expect to:

1)    Have more complete and accurate adjuvant treatment information in their registries;
2)    Use the prospective alerts system to help ensure that patients do not go unnoticed;
3)    Be able to report current performance (2010 and 2011) rates in cancer committee meetings;
4)    Get a head-start on cases that will be reported through the web-based Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports and assessed during your next accreditation site visit; and
5)    Increase the value and visibility of the registry within the cancer program.

For more information on the system and how to enroll your program, visit the RQRS Web page at:


NCDB Call for Data for 2012 is Announced

A letter from Dr. Christopher Pezzi, Chair of the Commission on Cancer Quality Integration Committee, will be sent out shortly in the form of an NCDB Flash to Registrars, Co-registrars, Cancer Program Administrators, Liaison Physicians and Cancer Committee Chairs. 

All analytic cases diagnosed during 2010 must be submitted to NCDB during January, 2012.  In addition, analytic cases diagnosed prior to 2010 that have been updated since shortly prior to the last time each diagnosis year was involved in a Call for Data must also be submitted during January.  Cases diagnosed prior to the program’s Reference Date must not be submitted, and cases diagnosed prior to 1985 (for those with earlier Reference Dates) will also not be accepted.

The CoC web sites for NCDB data submission have been updated, and registries should consult them for detailed requirements.
Please note that only a person designated as a Registrar or Co-registrar for the program may submit data or designate a software provider to do so.  See the August CoC Flash article at for how to check and update these designations.

All cases diagnosed in 2003 or more recently are subject to the 2012 Standard 5.6 for data quality (currently, 3.7), and cases with edit errors must be resubmitted correctly by April 1, 2012.  Rejected cases must be corrected and resubmitted regardless of diagnosis year.

Now Available: New On-Demand Webinars to Support the CoC Standards

We are excited to launch our new On-Demand Webinar Series in support of the Cancer Program Standards 2012. You can purchase these new webinars for the low introductory rate of $42.50 each through January 31. Visit to learn more and purchase one or more webinars. 

Survey Savvy Update

Registration for Survey Savvy will be opening shortly. We will send out a special CoC Flash to let everyone know when it does.

Survey Savvy will once again be held in Chicago, IL on March 8-9, 2012 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown. 

The registration fee is $600 per person and the hotel is $169/night.

Collaborative Stage Data Collection System

The Collaborative Stage (CS) Data Collection System workgroups announce the availability of the production release for version 02.04 of the Collaborative Stage System.

Highlights of the CSv02.04 Release:

•    The new release will be effective for all cases diagnosed January 1, 2012, and later
•    Over 100 changes are incorporated in v02.04:
o    11 updates to CS Coding Instructions, Part I, Section 1
o    16 updates to CS Coding Instructions, Part I, Section 2
o    110 updates to the site-specific schemas and associated sections in the CS Coding Instructions, Part II (schemas)
o    Each change is fully documented in the CS Release Notes
•    Details of the changes are provided in the Release Notes for v02.04 document. For the schema changes, the Release Notes specify every coding table or extra table that was affected in the update.
•    A minimal number of cases will require manual review during the conversion, see the Implementation Guide Section 3.3 for more information.

Please contact your vendor to determine when the software will become available for your registry.

Future CSv2 Releases:

The Collaborative Stage Management Team is committed to quality and improving the functionality of CS. In response to welcomed input and our own internal reviews, we understand the impact CSv2 changes have had on the registry community. There are still a number of known issues within CS that will require another release. This future release is tentatively labeled, CSv02.05. The Collaborative Stage Management Team has decided that the release of CSv02.05 will be effective for the 2014 data year. It is anticipated that all items related to CSv02.05 will be available during the summer of 2013. A more detailed timeline for the release of CSv02.05 will be published as the plans are finalized.

Visit the CSv2 Web page at

CS Website Survey Closes on December 15

The Collaborative Stage (CS) team is planning a redesign of its website. We are seeking input from CS website users to ensure that the new version is informed by the opinions of those who use the website most often. Our goals are to improve the website navigation, content, and functionality.

The following survey has been created to gather feedback and suggestions that will inform the redesign of the CS website. 

Please take a few moments to provide us with your valuable input. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please e-mail

The AJCC and CS on YouTube

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has launched its YouTube channel which contains educational videos on various AJCC and Collaborative Stage (CS) topics.

The YouTube channel is a new way for the AJCC to present educational information and interact with the oncology and registry community. The initial videos posted on the YouTube channel are the popular Staging Moments that go through the staging of a real cancer case. We are adding more videos on other topics including 988vs 999 and Eval Codes related to CS. So be sure to “subscribe” to the YouTube channel so you can be notified when new videos are posted. YouTube allows viewers to leave feedback in the comments section, give a “thumbs up” if you like the video, and of course, share the video with colleagues. We encourage you to utilize these features, especially to provide feedback on the videos and let us know what other topics you would like covered. The AJCC will be monitoring the comments and feedback sections of the individual videos as well as the AJCC channel page for users input and suggestions.  Click here to check out the YouTube videos right now!

NAPBC Board Approves Standard 6.2 Quality Improvement

The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) Board unanimously approved Standard 6.2 – Quality Improvement. This standard will require reporting annual performance levels for seven quality measures that have been identified by the NAPBC Quality Improvement and Information Technology Committee.  A data collection page will be added to the Survey Application Record (SAR) that will require all NAPBC-accredited breast centers, and centers applying for accreditation, to enter information on an annual basis.

The seven quality measures are outlined below:





Radiation therapy is administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women under age 70 receiving breast conserving surgery for breast cancer.


Combination chemotherapy is considered or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for women under the age of 70 with AJCC T1c, Stage II or III hormone receptor negative breast cancer.


Tamoxifen or third generation aromatase inhibitor is considered or administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women with AJCC T1c, Stage II or III hormone receptor positive breast cancer.


Needle/core biopsy is performed prior to surgical treatment of breast cancer.


Breast conservation surgery rate for women with AJCC Stage 0, I or II breast cancer.


Sentinel node biopsy rate.


Radiation therapy is considered or administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer with four or more positive regional lymph nodes. 

The surveyor will confirm compliance during the medical record review portion of the on-site survey.

The NAPBC SAR data collection page will be pilot-tested in early 2012 and rolled out to all accredited centers and those applying for accreditation by mid-2012. Additional educational resources will be made available prior to implementation.

NAPBC Exhibit Schedule

The NAPBC is scheduled to exhibit at the following national meetings:

National Consortium of Breast Centers
March 10-14, 2012

Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort
Las Vegas, NV

American Society of Breast Disease
April 12-14, 2012
Four Seasons Resort

Dallas, TX

American Society of Breast Surgeons
May 2-6, 2012
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa
Phoenix, AZ

Stop by the exhibit hall at any one of these meetings and pick up an NAPBC Information Kit or additional information about the program.

NAPBC Partners with the National Consortium of Breast Centers

Quality care now defines value in health care.  Initiatives to assess quality care exist for breast centers as a program and for each clinical discipline.  Each program has a spectrum of measures designed to assess their own discipline.  Most quality programs reside as stand- alone programs but in the future, synergy among programs will reduce duplication, support collaboration, and increase consistency in quality care.  An overview of the quality assessment landscape helps identify which programs to participate.

A special pre-conference session titled National Recognition for Breast Centers of Excellence: Service Line Optimization will be held in conjunction with the National Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference hosted by the National Consortium of Breast Centers.  This meeting will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, 2012 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  On March 10, well-known national leaders in quality breast health care will present a number of quality initiatives available to track center and individual clinician performance over time.  On Sunday, March 11, the NAPBC will continue the theme of quality breast health care and has invited speakers to discuss critical components of the breast center model that contribute to quality breast health care, including building a multidisciplinary team, discussing the NAPBC components and standards that are required for NAPBC accreditation, continuity of care and how survivorship programs contribute to multidisciplinary care, the importance of genetic counseling, and a discussion outlining the process of achieving NAPBC accreditation.

Contact the National Consortium of Breast Centers for more information and to register for this comprehensive educational meeting, or contact the NAPBC administrative office at

NCI to Host Fifth Annual Biospecimen Research Network Symposium

Registration is now open for the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Annual Biospecimen Research Network Symposium, "Advancing Cancer Research through Biospecimen Science," Feb. 22-23, 2012, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Maryland.

Molecular changes can be induced in biospecimens by different collection, processing and storage variables, thus confounding the results of research and clinical tests. This symposium highlights new developments in the field of biospecimen science to address these challenges, through presentations and discussion with a broad range of stakeholders, including research investigators, clinicians, industry representatives, hospital administrators, and patient advocates.

Please join NCI’s Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research for this informative two-day event that will feature presentations and interactive discussions.  For the latest information about registration, speakers, topics, and participation, visit


NCRA Awarded Cooperative Agreement with the CDC to Enhance Cancer Data Collection and Showcase Its Use in Improving Public Health

The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) was awarded a $1 million, five-year cooperative agreement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), to launch innovative efforts to enhance cancer surveillance data collection and use through workforce readiness, recruitment, and retention. Key components of the program include high-quality, cost-effective training to cancer surveillance professionals; recruitment and retention initiatives to ensure a steady supply of highly skilled cancer surveillance professionals; and marketing and communications programs to increase awareness of the profession and the role cancer data collection plays to benefit public health.

NCRA offers an array of educational programming to prepare cancer registrars to provide accurate and timely data collection and adapt to changes in standards and technologies. NCRA also certifies registrars. As the demand for cancer registry professionals increases, so will the need for innovative and easily accessible training to educate the next generation of cancer registrars.

“This cooperative agreement with the CDC‘s NPCR enhances a decade-long partnership with NCRA, and the two organizations have found common ground in addressing issues that are pivotal to the future of cancer surveillance,” said Melanie. W. Rogan, certified tumor registrar, and president, NCRA. “With this support, NCRA can build upon its existing resources to develop innovative new training programs and promote the profession to help meet the increasing demand for well-qualified cancer registrars.”

A key component of the program is the design and implementation of a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) that will include a centralized online knowledge center that automates the administration, tracking, and reporting of all NCRA training opportunities, as well as the educational programs of partner organizations. 

A key component of the program is the design and implementation of a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) that includes a centralized online knowledge center that automates the administration, tracking, and reporting of all NCRA training opportunities, as well as the educational programs of partner organizations. The LCMS strives to provide a one-stop information site for cancer surveillance professionals to find cost-effective educational materials to keep current on changes in the field and ensure their skills remain up-to date.

In addition to its support of high-quality training, the agreement will also fund initiatives to raise awareness about the profession and its role in improving public health. This will be accomplished through articles in NCRA publications and industry-related journals that highlight the CDC‘s NPCR data. The articles will present how the data are used to inform public health programming, expand activities related to National Cancer Registrars Week, and create a Cancer Surveillance Workforce Toolkit for Health Information Management (HIM) schools to enhance instructor resources and student knowledge of the profession. Many of the materials will enhance knowledge of how NPCR data benefit public health programs.

“The critical role cancer registrars play in the fight against cancer is not known well-enough outside the profession,” noted Lori Swain, NCRA’s Executive Director. “Our goal is to increase the visibility of cancer registrars and registry data that showcase the work of cancer registrars and how the CDC‘s NPCR collects data and reports leads to important decisions about cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. These initiatives will support the recruitment and retention of cancer registrars and better inform the public about the key part they play in our collective efforts to prevent and treat cancer.”

Monthly Spotlight: American Radium Society

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 Radium Society.

Founded in 1916, the American Radium Society is the oldest society devoted the study and treatment of cancer. As a multidisciplinary organization, members include radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, head and neck surgeons, medical oncologists, and neurosurgeons.

The Society:

1)    Promotes the study of cancer in all of its aspects
2)    Encourages liaison among the various medical specialist and allied scientists concerned with the treatment of cancer
3)    Continues scientific study of the treatment of the cancer patient through its annual meeting and educational publications
Through the Society, its representatives are formally involved in organizations promoting cancer care, education, and radiation safety, including:
1)    The American College of Radiology
2)    The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons
3)    The National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements
4)    The American Board of Radiology
Since 1933, the American Radium Society has sponsored an annual lecture in memory of Doctor Henry H. Janeway (1873-1921), a great American pioneer in the therapeutic use of radium. A special committee of the Society chooses the lecturers on the basis of their outstanding scientific contributions. This is an international award. Each speaker is presented the Janeway Medal. Recent distinguished lecturers include: Larry Einhorn, Charles Balch, Larry Kun, John Mendelsohn, Harry Bartelink, Andrew von Eschenbach, Jean-Claude Horiot, and Samuel Wells.

The ARS Meeting is the world’s oldest multidisciplinary cancer conference and has a tradition of scientific excellence, collegiality, and a multidisciplinary scientific program.

Event Information:

The 94th Annual Meeting of the American Radium Society
April 28 – May 2, 2012
Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV                                  

Recent Publications and/or Products:
For American Board of Radiology Maintenance of  Certification (ABR-MOC) the American Radium Society offers Self Assessment Modules for Maintenance of Certification. These are available at

For more information on this organization, please contact:

Jaclyn Weinstein, Executive Director, 11300 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Phone: 310-437-0581, Ext. 123 | Fax: 310-437-0585

Email: | Website:

Monthly Spotlight: American Society for Radiation Oncology

The Commission on Cancer regularly collaborates with over 50 member organizations in its mission to provide quality cancer care. This month we introduce American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

ASTRO is the premier organization for radiation oncologists and members of the radiation oncology treatment team. Founded in 1958 as a club, ASTRO now boasts more than 10,000 members worldwide who specialize in the safe delivery of radiation therapies to patients with cancer. Membership includes radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, radiation oncology nurses and nurse practitioners, biologists, physician assistants, and practice administrators.

Our mission is improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy, which we meet through six strategic goals.

1.    Providing state-of-the-art education and lifelong professional development in the effective use of radiation as a treatment for cancer patients.

To help our members stay up-to-date on the latest breakthroughs in patient care we host several meetings throughout the year, including disease-site specific smaller meetings, multidisciplinary meetings and a large science based and patient driven Annual Meeting covering all aspects of treating cancer with radiation. To supplement traditional meetings, ASTRO hosts webinars and other online training to educate members.

2.    Publishing the premier scientific and practice journals in radiation oncology.

ASTRO publishes two journals: the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics (Red Journal) and Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO). The Red Journal publishes scientific studies in 15 issues annually. PRO is dedicated to improving radiation oncology practice and is the exclusive publisher of ASTRO guidelines and white papers. Both offer physicians the chance to earn CME credits by answering questions on a pre-selected study.

3.    Advancing science through research and innovation to improve clinical outcomes for each patient.

ASTRO is a strong supporter of research to advance the specialty and ultimately provide even better care for cancer patients. The Society provides nearly $1 million in grants through its foundation, the Radiation Oncology Institute, to prevent, treat and cure malignancies. Many grants are geared toward junior faculty and residents to promote research early in a radiation oncologist’s career and encourage continued research throughout.

4.    Being the premier voice for radiation oncology advocacy and health policy.

ASTRO presents a strong voice in Congress on critical policy issues and represents radiation oncology before government agencies, the AMA and third-party payers.  Annually, ASTRO hosts an advocacy event in Washington, D.C., so members can speak to their members of Congress and senators about issues facing the specialty and how treatment team members and representatives can work together to ensure cancer patients receive the best possible care. Our top issues are ending self-referral abuses and permanently fixing the Medicare physician payment formula to provide stability to cancer patients and the specialty.

5.    Shaping the framework for delivering safe, high-quality health care to all cancer patients

ASTRO provides resources to assist radiation oncology treatment team members in delivering the safest and best possible care to their patients by publishing guidelines and white papers outlining standard practices to ensure quality assurance; sponsoring a Practice Accreditation Program; and participating in The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise – Radiation Oncology program to ensure the compatibility of radiation therapy equipment and reduce the chance of treatment errors. In 2010, ASTRO established Target Safely, a multi-step plan to ensure patients receive the safest and most effective cancer treatments, while minimizing the chance of medical errors.

6.    Providing services that add value to members and maintain organization-wide fiscal responsibility.

Being the premier organization for radiation oncology, we are constantly striving to provide our members with valuable benefits. Through ASTRO, members obtain access to continuing education, scientific research, grants and publications providing the latest specialty and Society news and more. We also have a duty to provide valuable and accurate information to the public on radiation therapy treatments. Through our patient website,, and informational patient brochures we supply cancer patients and their families with reliable, physician-approved information on cancer and what to expect from radiation treatments.

For more information on this organization, please contact:
ASTRO, 8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Suite 500, Fairfax, VA  22031
Phone: 800-962-7876
Email: | Website:

Monthly Spotlight: Association of American Cancer Institutes

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 American Cancer Institutes (AACI).

The AACI represents 95 of the premier academic and free-standing cancer research centers in the United States and is dedicated to aiding its members' shared mission to eradicate cancer. AACI provides a unified voice for cancer center leaders to educate policy makers and the public about the importance of cancer centers and the role they play in reducing the cancer burden in their communities. AACI sponsors a number of initiatives that facilitate interaction among cancer centers.

The Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) provides a focused forum for sharing information and examining best practices and leverages the influence of the AACI cancer center network to advocate for improvement in the national clinical trials enterprise.  

The Oncology Workforce Initiative helps to address a projected sharp increase in demand for cancer care, and the attendant burdens that the greater demand will place on cancer care providers. AACI has also compiled and disseminated a report describing 21 member centers’ efforts to enhance oncology workforce training, recruitment and retention, as well as related areas of activity such as new models of care, research support, and policy.  

Another initiative is the AACI Translational Cancer Research Fellowship. It provides four one-year $50,000 grants to qualified applicants at AACI cancer centers which assists trainees in becoming a high-caliber, productive, independent researchers with an enduring focus on the importance of translational research in relation to cancer.

Event Information:

AACI and the Cancer Center Administrators Forum (CCAF) jointly hold an annual fall meeting alternating between Chicago and Washington D.C. The annual meeting draws about 250 cancer center directors and executive-level administrators, along with leaders of national cancer research and advocacy groups, industry, and government health agencies. The AACI Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) holds an annual meeting in July which is attended by over 125 senior clinical trials office leaders, medical directors, representatives from government health and research agencies, industry, and healthcare professional groups. 

Recent Publications and/or Products:  

AACI produces a newsletter, AACI Update, which is circulated by email 10 times per year to more than 1,000 recipients, and an annual report.  CRI produces a quarterly newsletter that is viewed by over 300 recipients. 

For more information on this organization, please contact:
Janie Hofacker, RN, MS, Director of Programs, 3708 Fifth Ave., Medical Arts Building, Suite 503, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 647-6331
Email: | Website:

Monthly Spotlight: Association of Cancer Executives

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 Cancer Executives (ACE).

The ACE is a national organization dedicated to the professional development of oncology executives through continuing education and professional networking designed to promote improvement in patient care delivery.  The organization works to:

•    Promote excellence and enhance skills in leadership in business and clinical management aspects of cancer care;
•    Provide a forum for dialogue on cancer program development challenges and opportunities;
•    Disseminate emerging, innovative oncology management best practices among the national cancer care community; and
•    Optimize the value of networking and support continuing education for cancer care administrators.
Membership benefits include:  1) Annual Educational Conference with a discounted rate for members; 2) Annual 101 Oncology Conference, which is a special orientation for new cancer program Administrators; 3) Listserv - Electronic forum providing instant member to member information exchange on hot topics and emerging issues; 4) Website access to member network, directory and job board; 4) ACE Update, which is a bi-monthly electronic news magazine; and 5) Hot-topic conference calls. 

The Committees of ACE include: 1) Election and Bylaws (This committee is charged with recommending and maintaining current and thorough bylaws for the organization and coordinating the conduct of the annual election process in a manner consistent with established bylaws); 2) Membership (This committee is charged with increasing the membership of the organization); 3)  Member Services (This committee is charged with developing, implementing and evaluating innovative and value-added services to be offered to the organization’s members.); 4)  ACE Newsletter (This committee is charged with supporting the efforts of the ACE Newsletter Editor and assisting with the development of written publications which promote the organization.); and 5) Vendor Relations (This committee is charged with enhancing and maintaining productive and mutually beneficial relationships with vendors with the intent of maximizing their financial support of organizational initiatives and conferences).

Event Information:
The 18th Annual Meeting of the Association of Cancer Executives is from January 18th-21st 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in Savannah, GA. Reference for registration.

For more information on this organization, please contact:
Linda W. Ferris, Ph.D., Member Organization Representative to the Commission on Cancer, 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Suite 500 East, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 775-813-7991
E-Mail: or
Phone: 202-521-1886 | Fax: 202-833-3636
Email: | Website:


SNM Launches Website for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Patients

The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM)  has launched a new patient-focused website,, to provide patients with information about nuclear medicine and molecular imaging and how it can play a critical role in the detection, treatment, and management of diseases.

“Many times patients referred for a nuclear medicine or molecular imaging studies are nervous about what to expect,” said George Segall, MD, SNM president. “By providing information and explaining the benefits of the study in an easy to understand format, we can offer them help and support.”

The website focuses on three common disease areas—heart disease, cancer, and brain disease. For each area, specific types of disease are detailed along with the nuclear and molecular imaging procedures that are associated with each. General information on molecular imaging, an extensive glossary and a video library are also included on the site. Additionally, patients can stay up to date on the latest in molecular imaging news through Facebook and Twitter pages designed to complement the site. is supported by several patient advocacy groups that are a part of SNM’s Patient Advocacy Advisory Board (PAAB), including the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Thyroid Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, the American Heart Association, the Men’s Health Network, and the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association.

“I am thrilled that this comprehensive resource for patients is now available,” commented Betsy de Parry, a member of SNM’s PAAB and author of Adventures in Cancer Land. Laurel Pracht, SNM PAAB member and patient advocate for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance added. “It is critical for patients to have access to user-friendly information about what is available for someone with your disease. The website provides information about both what is currently available in molecular imaging and how it may affect you.”

More than 16 million Americans undergo nuclear and molecular imaging and therapy procedures each year for a variety of conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions and other physiological problems. Nuclear and molecular imaging procedures are an invaluable way to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests.

About SNM—Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy

SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in molecular imaging, a vital element of today’s medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated.

SNM’s more than 17,000 members set the standards for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and  practice. For more information, visit