The CoC Source - October 31, 2012
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CoC Annual Meetings Recap

The Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons concluded on October 4 and heralded the beginning of a year-long celebration of the American College of Surgeons Centennial. Special program sessions, exhibits, and commemorative items paid tribute to the 100-year commitment of the College and its Fellows to improving the care of the surgical patient. A major interactive timeline exhibit was on display marking milestones in surgery and the College's history. "A History of the College," written by David Nahrwold, MD, FACS, and Peter Kernahan, MD, PhD, FACS was distributed to each attendee along with a commemorative publication showcasing the breadth of the specialty, and each attendee received a collectible centennial coin. The Centennial celebration will continue throughout the year culminating at the 2013 Clinical Congress. The Centennial theme was carried through the Commission on Cancer (CoC) sessions with a special focus celebrating 100 years of collaboration between the College and the American Cancer Society (ACS) to improve the lives of cancer patients. Highlights from the CoC events were:

  • The CoC hosted four scientific sessions focused on quality programs for breast surgeons, management of the axilla in breast cancer, the impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for early stage breast cancer, and outcomes of endoscopic and surgical management of esophageal cancer. 
  • Professor Bill Health, OBE, MChir, FRCS, director of surgery at The Pelican Foundation located in Basingstoke, England, presented on "50 Years of Bowel Surgery: Tales of the Unexpected."
  • Several new State Chairs were oriented to their new role and all of the CoC State Chairs participated in a town hall session focused on educating the state chairs on influencing policy change in their respective states and at the federal level.  Presentations focused on state-level advocacy efforts of the College and the ACS Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). These presentations provided the state chairs with specific strategies on how they can make an impact on local cancer legislation. In addition, College staff from the Washington, DC office provided federal advocacy training.
  • Representatives from the CoC's 50 member organizations gathered to discuss their role in the work of the newly formed CoC Advocacy Workgroup. The CoC would like to work more closely with its member organizations to help advance their legislative agendas. In addition, two member organizations - the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors -  provided updates on their organizational activities. The program closed with a discussion on how the CoC can add value to their organization.
  • The CoC Annual Meeting was attended by more than 200 individuals and included the election of new officers and members (see other articles in this issue) along with recognition of outgoing officers and members. The keynote presentation was delivered by Allen Lichter, MD, CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  He discussed "Increasing Value in Cancer Care: Cancer Information Lead the Way?" The featured presentation was delivered by Jarod M. Loeb, PhD, executive vice-president of the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission. He discussed "The Times, They are A-Changin" in which he described his recent cancer diagnosis, interactions with the healthcare delivery system, and areas for improvement in the delivery of high-quality cancer care. Dr. Stephen Edge, outgoing chair of the CoC, reviewed the current activities of the CoC, where the CoC has been, and opportunities and challenges for the future. A podcast of Dr. Edge's presentation is available by accessing the following link -
  • Highlights from the meeting included two special presentations. The first was to leadership of the American Cancer Society in recognition of our 100 years of collaboration to improve the quality of care for the cancer patient, and the second was to Morton C. Wilhelm, MD, FACS, from Charlottesville, VA who served as a member and in leadership positions with the CoC. Dr. Wilhelm was a mentor to Dr. Stephen Edge who presented him with the first CoC Chair Award. The award recognized "MC" for his lifelong commitment to the missions of the CoC, ACS, and to patients with cancer. 
  • A special tribute to Dr. Stephen Edge concluded the meeting and was delivered by the incoming CoC Chair, Daniel P. McKellar, MD, FACS. Dr. McKellar recognized all of the advancements made by the CoC under Dr. Edge's leadership, and included a heartfelt "thank you" and appreciation from all the CoC members, volunteers, and staff, for Dr. Edge's tireless work on behalf of the CoC, for all the initiatives he spearheaded, and for his deep commitment to the both the CoC and the cancer patient.
  • In conclusion, more than 300 cancer liaison physicians (CLPs) attended their annual breakfast meeting and received a program brief about their new role contained within the CoC's 2012 cancer program standards. Presentations focused primarily on the CLP's role in quality and in supporting the quality standards, hands-on training on how to use the CoC Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R), and strategies for optimizing use of the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) reporting tools to support assessment of program performance and presentation to the cancer committee.  A podcast of the meeting is posted to the CoC website at

CoC Recognizes Outgoing Members and Leaders

The CoC recognizes the following departing members for their distinguished contributions to the work of the Commission:


  • Arnold M. Baskies, MD, FACS *
  • David R. Byrd, MD, FACS *
  • Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, MD, FACS *
  • Frederick L. Greene, MD, FACS *
  • Cary S. Kaufman, MD, FACS, National Consortium of Breast Centers
  • Diane Otte, RN, MS, OCN, Oncology Nursing Society
  • Roger R. Perry, MD, FACS *
  • James Recabaren, MD, FACS *
  • Rache M. Simmons, MD, FACS, Society of Surgical Oncology
  • Mary Kay Washington, MD, FACS, College of American Pathologists

* Representing College Fellowship


  • Arnold Baskies, MD, FACS, Chair, Education Committee
  • Stephen B. Edge, MD, FACS, Chair, Commission on Cancer
  • Linda W. Ferris, PhD, Chair, Member Organization Steering Committee and Vice Chair, Accreditation Committee
  • Frederick L. Greene, MD, FACS, Chair, Nominating Committee
  • Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, Vice Chair, Education Committee
  • Daniel P. McKellar, MD, FACS, Chair, Accreditation Committee
  • Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, Vice Chair, Member Organization Steering Committee

CoC Announces New Members and Leaders

The CoC is pleased to welcome the following individuals who were appointed to membership and leadership positions at the 2012 annual meeting held on September 30 in Chicago, IL.

Representing the Fellowship for a Three-Year Term:

  • Nita Ahuja, MD, FACS, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
  • Charles Cheng, MD, FACS, Appleton Medical Center, Appleton, WI
  • Larry D. Dillon, MD, FACS, Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs, CO
  • James L. Frank, MD, FACS, Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, MA
  • Ted A. James, MD, FACS, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  • Patrick Ross Jr., MD, FACS, Ohio State University and James Cancer Hospital, Columbus, OH

Representing Member Organizations for a Three-Year Term:

  • College of American Pathologists—Jean F. Simpson, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, Nashville, TN
  • National Consortium of Breast Centers, Inc.—Ernie Bodai, MD, FACS, Kaiser Permanente, Breast Health Center; Sacramento, CA
  • Oncology Nursing Society—Carma S. Herring, RN, MSN, OCN, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Des Moines, IA
  • Society of Surgical Oncology, Inc.—David N. Bimston, MD, FACS, FSSO, Memorial Integrative Endocrine Surgery, Hollywood, FL

New Leadership:

  • Daniel P. McKellar, MD, FACS, Wayne HealthCare; Greenville, OH—Chair, CoC
  • Linda W. Ferris, PhD, Oncology-Centura Health; Denver, CO—Chair, Accreditation Committee
  • Robert Sticca, MD, FACS, University of North Dakota, School of Medicine, Grand Forks —Vice Chair, Accreditation Committee
  • Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, Rush University Medical Center; Chicago, IL—Chair, Education Committee
  • Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, Penobscot Bay Medical Center, Rockport, ME—Chair, Member Organization Steering Committee
  • Kathryn K. Hamilton, MA, RD, CSO, CDN, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, Upper Saddle River, NJ—Vice Chair, Member Organization Steering Committee
  • Stephen B. Edge, MD, FACS, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY—Chair, Nominating Committee

NQF Re-Endorses CoC Quality of Care Measures

In an October 23, 2012 release, the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed 16 quality cancer measures, six of which are measures supported by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Commission on Cancer (CoC).  These measures were originally endorsed by NQF in 2007.  This recent action is a re-endorsement of the measures for which the CoC serves as steward.  Five of these measures are already being utilized as quality tools for CoC-accredited cancer programs through the Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R) and the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS). 

  • 0223: Adjuvant chemotherapy is considered or administered within 4 months (120 days) of surgery to patients under the age of 80 with AJCC III (lymph node positive) colon cancer (Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons).
  • 0225: At least 12 regional lymph nodes are removed and pathologically examined for resected colon cancer (Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons).
  • 0219: Post breast conservation surgery irradiation (Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons).
  • 0220: Adjuvant hormonal therapy (Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons).
  • 0221: Needle biopsy to establish diagnosis of cancer precedes surgical excision/resection (Commission on Cancer, American College of Surgeons).
  • 0559: Combination chemotherapy is considered or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for women under 70 with AJCC T1c, or Stage II or III hormone receptor negative breast cancer (American College of Surgeons).

The NQF is a voluntary consensus standard-setting organization.  For more information on this release, see the following website.

Now Available! Essential Program Resources to Support the CoC Standards

A new CoC web page has been developed which brings together all of the resources to support the Cancer Program Standards 2012, Version 1.1: Ensuring Patient Centered Care. Resources include:

  • Links to important CoC Flash articles and other essential communications 
  • Link to download complimentary electronic version of the Standards or to order a hard copy
  • CAnswer Forum – an interactive virtual bulletin board and forum for interpretation questions
  • Best Practices Repository
  • Online Educational Resources

Visit the new web page at

New Survey Application Record (SAR) Availability

On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, the new SAR became accessible through the CoC Datalinks website at The SAR is used by the cancer program to document compliance with the CoC’s current standards since the last survey.

The new SAR is only accessible to those cancer programs that have completed ALL sections of the Eligibility Requirements on Datalinks.

The new SAR is for 2012 (and forward) cancer program activity. No data or documents from the historical SAR will copy over to the new SAR.

The 2009 through 2011 cancer program activity is located on the CoC Datalinks website provided above and then clicking on ‘Historical Survey Application Record’. The historical SAR will re-open for final editing and uploading of documents from November 5-18, 2012. The historical SAR will then remain in read-only format from this date forward. No further extensions will be provided.

Questions related to the SAR should be submitted by e-mail to To assist us in providing high quality customer service, the e-mail message should be specific and include your complete contact information; first and last name, formal facility or network name, FIN, city and state, e-mail address, and phone number.  

CAnswer Forum - Improving the Search Function

A number of users have expressed their concern with the search function of the CAnswer Forum. They state that when you do a word search it brings up too many questions and answers to look through in order to find an appropriate answer. The article below ran in the April 2012 Flash, and was found to be very helpful by many users.  

Please keep in mind when you are posting a question to title your question with words specific to your question, not just the standard name and number. If you have not used "tags" in the past please start using them. This will improve the search function of the CAnswer Forum.

Forum Monthly Highlight:  Search Process/Using Tags

Each month we will highlight one of the functions of the CAnswer Forum.  Our goal is to make CAnswer Forum users aware of the many helpful functions in the system. We will start with the search process and how to use tags.

To quickly find a question (thread) or answer (reply) of interest anywhere on the Forum, click on the “Search” link in the navigation bar at the top of most Forum pages. Then, type in the keyword or phrase you wish to search for, and select either ‘Show Threads’ or ‘Show Posts’ to view the results.  By selecting posts, you will be shown only the actual post in which the search word appears.  For more control over the search select ‘Advanced Search’ from the drop-down box.  The advanced search page allows you to restrict your search to individual Forums, find questions and answers by user, or return results based on tags.

Tags are a useful way to search for threads with similar subject matter and content.  This complements the normal search system, which searches only for certain words or phrases.  To use tags, you add words or phrases to threads to help describe the content.  For instance, if the subject matter is 'class of case' then you can add the tag class of case to the tag list.  But you can also add tags like “diagnosed elsewhere”, and “first course treatment”, depending on the nature of the question.

Who adds tags?  Tags are initially added to a question by the user who asks the question.  Other users may also be able to add or remove tags. Tags are displayed in a box near the bottom of a question (thread) page.  Clicking on a tag will allow you to view other questions that have the same tag, and which may be related.

 We hope that you will find playing “tag” a useful search function within the CAnswer Forum.


Cancer Program Standards 2012 –Best Practices Repository-What’s New in October?

This month we will introduce a link to a best practice for Veterans Health Administration (VHA) programs only. The Department of Veterans Affair (VA) staff from a variety of disciplines and VA facilities collaborated on cancer survivorship care coordination within the VHA. The result of this work is a national electronic toolkit which is an effort to document and share a body of work in these domains. Areas of focus and commitment include clinical care, education, and research and include:

  • Treatment Summary and Care Plan
  • Models of Cancer Survivorship Care
  • Best Practices – Experiences from the Field
  • Community Resources
  • Tools and Measurements

We hope our constituents from VHA programs find these materials helpful as they prepare to comply with the 2012 standards. To view this link and other newly posted documents, follow the link to the Best Practices Repository

We would like to thank our constituents, member organizations, and staff, for contributing tools and examples to the Repository. We would like to encourage all accredited programs to contribute any best practices reflecting the efforts of your cancer program. Please visit the link above to download instructions for submitting best practices.

Cancer Liaison Breakfast Webcast Posted

The Cancer Liaison Breakfast webcast is now posted on the CoC home page and on the Cancer Liaison Physician Information Board.

The webcast has audio and slides of presentations made at the October 1 Cancer Liaison Program Breakfast Meeting. Presentations included program updates, a presentation by Chris Pezzi, MD, FACS, on the CoC Quality Standards 4.4 and 4.5, a demonstration of the Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R) by Phil Roland, MD, FACS, and a discussion about meeting your needs as a National Cancer Data Base user and the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) presented by Andrew Stewart.


State Chair Outstanding Performance Award Winners

Each year the CoC Committee on Cancer Liaison bestows Outstanding Performance Awards to State Chairs who have exhibited outstanding leadership and innovation and who have made significant contributions to the improvement of cancer care in their state or region. The awards are based on consistent and innovative communication methods used for maintaining relationships with the Cancer Liaison Physicians, support and initiation of CoC activities at the state and regional levels, and collaborative activities with the local College Chapter, the American Cancer Society, and the Comprehensive Cancer Control.

Congratulations to the 2012 winners of the Outstanding Performance Awards:

Juan C. Paramo, MD, FACS, FICS
Surgical Oncologist
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Miami Beach, FL

Peter Hopewood, MD, FACS
Breast Surgeon
Falmouth Hospital
Falmouth, MA

Leslie Kohman, MD, FACS

Cardiothoracic Surgeon
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Syracuse, NY

Cancer Liaison Physician Educational Webinar

As a requirement stated in the new Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) Standard 4.3, the CLP is required to complete the CLP Orientation within three months of initial appointment and on reappointment every three years. NOTE: The CLP orientation webinar can be found on the CoC's Online Education Portal.

There are five webinars within the CLP educational webinar series. If you have not yet viewed them, access them online at

Instructions on how to view the webinars are also available at Please keep in mind the log-in information you use to enter CoC Datalinks is NOT the log-in information you would use to access the webinars. You must create a new account in the CoC education portal. If you have questions, contact us at

Process for Appointing or Reappointing Your Cancer Liaison Physician

It’s that time of year again! In December, the Cancer Liaison Program staff will send a notification to those facilities whose Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) term expires as of January 1, 2013.

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. Each cancer committee must determine whether the current CLP is appropriately serving in this role or if another candidate would better suit the position.

The process to reappoint or appoint a new CLP has been simplified.

New Appointment Process

  1. Log in to CoC Datalinks
  2. Go under Manage Staff Contact
  3. Under the Pending Contacts section, select Add Contact
  4. Enter the CLP name and contact information in this window
  5. Click the Save button. This will come directly to the Cancer Liaison Program for processing. An appointment letter will be sent to the CLP and a notification will be sent to the cancer program staff via e-mail

Remove Former CLP

  1. Log into CoC Datalinks
  2. Go under Manage Staff Contact
  3. Click on former CLP’s name to expand their record
  4. Click the remove button. A box will open asking if you want to remove this contact. Click ok

Reappointment Process
Send an e-mail to with your CLP’s name and e-mail address stating that your program would like to reappoint them to an additional term. An e-mail will be sent to the CLP and program staff confirming reappointment.

If you have any difficulty with this process, send an e-mail to

NOTE: If your accredited facility does not have a CLP in place, you are in jeopardy of being in non-compliance with CoC accreditation standards 1.3 and 4.3. It is important that an appointment is made as soon as possible and that an individual is designated as the CLP in CoC Datalinks. If there is not a CLP appointed for your facility and recorded in CoC Datalinks, the CoC recommends that the Cancer Committee Chair be listed as the interim CLP until an official appointment is made.

RQRS: Viewing Yearly and Quarterly Performance Rates

Many users are accustomed to the iconic dashboards found on the home screen of the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS). The year-to-date performance rates provide important information for participating programs allowing them to understand their current adherence to the displayed measures. However, participating programs also have the ability to track their compliance over time by using the Compare tab. The Compare tab includes annual and quarterly performance rates for all cases submitted to RQRS. Results may be viewed in a line or bar graph and compared to other participating programs. The most recent comparisons were run on October 8  and are updated on a quarterly basis. Participating programs may also stratify their rates by patient demographic information to assess quality of care within the program.

For more information on navigating and interpreting RQRS, review the user guides on the RQRS website.

New NCDB Data Completeness Report Posted

The new NCDB Completeness Report presents data item completeness information for cases diagnosed in 2010 with follow-up item completeness for cases diagnosed in 2005 that were submitted during the 2012 Call for Data. The purpose of this report is to give CoC-accredited programs information about required data items for which they may not be providing all of the information that is available in the patient record. This year the cases shown are those that were submitted by the data-cleaning deadline of April 2012.  Both a program-specific and an NCDB Overall report are included.

The report can be accessed in CoC Datalinks by selecting the new link “NCDB Completeness Report for 2010 Diagnoses Submitted in 2012” under National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) Transmission. Documentation for using the report can be seen by clicking on “Help” at the top left-hand corner of the report.

Two major changes from the 2009 report are introduced in this report. The first is the use of subsetting to evaluate completeness.  Last year, the full 2009 caseload was used for the denominator for all measures, whether or not the item was expected to have a known code for the particular case. The 2010 data completeness report applies the measure to the most relevant subset of cases. For example, evaluation of the full date radiation started was limited to cases that received radiation at the reporting facility.  The report includes columns that identify the particular subset applied for each data item.

In the same spirit, the second major change involves applying a longer-term evaluation for certain follow-up items that become more relevant in the years following initial diagnosis. Cases submitted in 2012 that were diagnosed in 2005 (five years prior to the 2010 diagnoses evaluated for all other data items) are evaluated for data completeness of Date of Last Contact or Death, Cancer Status, Date of First Recurrence, and Type of First Recurrence.

Are You Caught Up On The Latest New Standards Education?

Stay up-to-date on the latest CoC standards education and view one of the 13 webinars on the CoC Online Education Portal. These webinars were created to support all cancer program staff in understanding and implementing the 2012 patient-centered standards.

Some of the most popular webinars include:

  • Cancer Program Standards 2012 Continuum of Care Services: Focus on Survivorship Care Plans
  • Studies of Quality and Quality Improvements
  • Cancer Program Standards 2012 Continuum of Care Services: Focus on Psychosocial Distress Screening, Tools and Resources
  • Quality of Patient Care: New CoC Standard

For more information and to register visit the CoC Online Education Portal.

SAVE THE DATE for Survey Savvy 2013!

The next Survey Savvy will be June 26-28, 2013 in Chicago, IL. There will be an optional Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) Workshop on June 26, held at College Headquarters. We will be examining the new 2012 Standards in greater depth at this conference. Registration will be $600 per person and hotel is $239 per night. Stay tuned to the CoC Flash for updates as they become available.


AJCC Seeking Candidates for Editor of Cancer Staging Manual

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) welcomes applications for the position of editor-in-chief of the eighth edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, planned for publication in 2015. This publication represents the latest iteration of the tumor, node, and metastasis system.

The editor, who will be chosen in January 2013, will be expected to coordinate all activities leading to publication. A minimum three-year term will begin in March 2013 and will involve working with AJCC staff, the publisher, and all volunteer physicians, cancer registrars, and others who participate in the site-specific expert panels.

The position will be financially compensated by the AJCC. Candidates must be physicians and should submit a letter of interest to Karen Pollitt, AJCC Manager,, by December 1, 2012.

Answers to Coding Dilemmas in CSv0204

Do you have a case where none of the Collaborative Staging (CS) codes seems right for your scenario? It is probably a known issue and one that the CS team is addressing for version 0205. In the meantime, CS has developed a support document to help you at The “CSv0204 Support for Identified Issues” is an important resource. This provides registrars coding guidelines for the key issues identified in the current version, 0204, that will be fixed in the next release. The list is brief, as we try to keep it to the most important issues or those affecting a large number of cases. If you do not see your issue on the list, please use the search feature in the CAnswer Forum to find the guidance you need. If your topic has not yet been addressed, submit it the CAnswer Forum for assistance.


Lead Your Breast Program to Excellence Course
Learn from those who developed the standards!

The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), in conjunction with the National Consortium of Breast Centers, will host a dynamic two-day course where nationally recognized leaders will discuss critical success factors for comprehensive breast centers.

When: November 16–17, 2012

Where: Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites in Chicago, IL

What: Learn how others built their multidisciplinary breast centers from the ground up using nationally recognized programs. This two-day conference will include authorities discussing:

  • National Quality Programs: The What, Why, and How of NAPBC, the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers, and the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence
  • Developing a High-Quality Breast Program
  • Critical Success Factors for Developing Certification/Accreditation-Worthy Breast Programs
  • Benefits and Cost Effectiveness of Breast Center Programs
  • Defining Benchmarks for Breast Centers of Excellence
  • Breast Diagnostic, Treatment, and Management Quality Metrics
  • Aggressive Screening Programs, Patient Navigation, Genetic Risk Assessment and Counseling, Survivorship, and Advocacy

Who: The ideal audience for this conference will be:

  • Hospital chief executive officers and chief operating officers
  • Service line administrators
  • Breast program leaders and other physicians involved with breast centers
  • Radiologists and technologists involved with breast centers
  • Nurse navigators and quality managers
  • Breast imaging supervisors
  • Genetic counselors
  • Social workers

The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The American College of Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 16.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
CE hours pending approval from National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA).

Seating for this conference is limited, register before it sells out.

Learn more and register today for the Lead Your Breast Program to Excellence course at


Building a Successful Career in Cancer Registry Management
The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) offers a variety of educational programs to assist cancer registrars in crafting successful careers. Whether just beginning or seeking ways to grow professionally, NCRA provides cancer registrars with life-long learning through its formal education and training programs that are designed to assist registrars in preparing to earn and maintain the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR®) credential.

Formal Education Program
NCRA accredits formal education programs to ensure students who successfully complete the programs have fulfilled the eligibility requirements to take the CTR exam. All accredited programs have undergone extensive review by NCRA’s Formal Education Program Review Committee and several can be completed online, providing distance learning opportunities for students who do not have a program in their area. To learn more and to access direct links to NCRA-accredited programs, go to  

CTR Exam Prep Resources
NCRA offers a host of tools to prepare students to take the CTR exam, including an in-person CTR Exam Prep Workshop, CTR Exam Readiness Webinar Series, and the CTR Exam Study Guide. In 2013, NCRA will offer a CTR Exam online practice test and a CTR Exam Prep online course. The CTR exam dates for 2013 are March 9–23 and September 7–21.   

NCRA’s CTR Exam Prep Workshop is taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors who have designed an agenda that provides a comprehensive review of all exam topics with time allotted to address attendees’ questions and concerns. The one-and-a-half-day workshop is held in the weeks prior to each exam. Topics include registry organization and operations, concepts of abstracting, coding and follow-up; application of coding and staging principles; and multiple primary and histology. Registration also includes the CTR Exam Readiness Webinar Series. NCRA’s CTR Exam Readiness Webinar series is offered prior to each exam and the topics are designed to provide candidates with the knowledge needed to take the exam with confidence. Subject areas include computers; statistics and epidemiology; and CTR exam tips.

Maintaining the CTR Credential
Cancer registrars maintain the CTR credential by completing 20 hours of continuing education (CE) credits every two years. NCRA provides a variety of ways for CTRs to earn CEs, including its annual educational conference, webinars, and quizzes in NCRA’s peer-reviewed Journal of Registry Management.  Upcoming webinars include the two remaining in a four-part strategic abstracting series: “Skin and Melanoma” on November 14, 2012, with presenter Sharmen Dye, CTR, and “Breast” on January 9, 2013, with presenter SuAnn McFadden, CTR. A professional development webinar series is scheduled for winter/spring 2013. Topics include “Using Your Data: Interpretation and Presentation” on February 13, 2013, and “What Makes a Presentation: Statistical Concepts, Terminology, and Methodologies” on March 13, 2013.

For questions on NCRA’s Formal Education Program and its training opportunities, contact Mary Maul at or 703-299-6640 ext. 314. For questions on the CTR credential, including eligibility requirements, e-mail or phone 703-299-6640 ext. 312.  

Monthly Spotlight: American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

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 Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).

Originally organized as the Academy of Hospice Physicians in 1988, the Academy began with 250 charter members and has grown to more than 4,900 members today. Membership is also open to nurses and other health care providers who are committed to improving the quality of life of patients and families facing life-threatening or serious conditions. The AAHPM is dedicated to expanding access to high-quality palliative care for patients and families and advancing the discipline of hospice and palliative medicine through professional education and training, development of a specialist workforce, support for clinical practice standards, research, and public policy. Its core purpose is to improve, through advancement of hospice and palliative medicine, the care of patients with life-threatening or serious conditions. The AAHPM endorsed Standard 2.4 (Palliative Care Services) for the CoC’s Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care.

AAHPM will hold its annual assembly with the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association March 13–16, 2013, in New Orleans, LA. More than 2,400 hospice and palliative physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals are expected to attend this premier event in hospice and palliative care. Some of the 2013 annual assembly sessions will include:

  • Pediatric palliative care, palliative wound care, opioid REMS, teaching communication skills, managing pain, advanced spiritual care, and more
  • Educational forums on public policy advocacy, leadership development, and media skills

Learn more and register at

To learn more about this organization, please contact: 
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), 4700 W. Lake Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025
Phone: 847.375.4712
Email: | Website:
Patient Website: 

The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout Urges Smokers to Make a Plan to Quit

The American Cancer Society is marking the 37th Great American Smokeout on November 15 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life—one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., yet more than 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. However, more than half of these smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year. As of 2011, there were also about 15 million people who smoked tobacco in cigars or pipes.

Quitting is hard, but smokers can increase their chances of success with help. The American Cancer Society advises smokers on the steps they can take to quit smoking and provide the resources and support that can improve their chances of quitting successfully. To learn about the available tools, call the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 or visit

Register for ASCO’s Quality Care Symposium

ASCO’s Quality Care Symposium (November 30 - December 1, 2012 in San Diego, CA) will bring together top leaders in the field to share strategies and methods for measuring and improving the quality of cancer care. Through a dynamic program featuring didactic lectures, panel discussions, and abstract presentations, the Symposium will promote innovation and strategic planning in the expanding fields of oncology outcomes and health services research.

Event Information:
General Session Topics

  • Does Value Mean Quality? The Payer's Perspective
  • Models that Work - Integration across the Spectrum
  • IT Interventions to Improve Cancer Care Quality
  • Re-engineering Your Practice to Deliver Quality and Value

Scientific Sessions
In addition to the educational sessions, the Symposium will integrate a wide variety of scientific abstracts and discussion into the program.  The planning committee received an exceptional number of abstract submissions and is excited to present such a robust scientific program for the inaugural meeting.

Who Should Attend?
Oncology Care Providers, Practice Administrators, Accountable Care Organizations, Policymakers, and Patient Advocates

Bring your team to the table to join in the discussion on this emerging discipline. Register and reserve housing today for the best rates and housing availability.

Housing and Early Registration Deadline: October 24, 2012 at 11:59 PM (EDT)

This activity has been approved for a maximum of 11.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Surgical Investigators Meeting Planned at San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Attending the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 4-8, 2012?

Please plan to attend the surgical investigators meeting on Wednesday, December 5, 7:30 – 8:30 pm at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter Hotel, Conference Room 13-14. Sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Clinical Research Program (ACS CRP) and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, this meeting will include information on Alliance breast cancer clinical trials, Alliance membership, and how you can get more involved in the opportunities offered by the ACS CRP. Network with like-minded colleagues and learn more about research opportunities at the Alliance! Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

ACOA Oncology Update Scheduled for April 2013 in Las Vegas

For the first time, the American College of Oncology Administrators’ (ACOA) 2013 Oncology Update, April 10-12, 2013, in Las Vegas, NV, will provide an expanded educational experience for leaders in oncology, cardiovascular, and neuroscience. Under the banner, American Academy of Medical Administrators Presents 3 Conferences - 1 Location, the conference will provide both individual specialty-focused conferences and exciting leadership keynote sessions. 

The new format will bring together ACCA’s Cardiovascular Administrators’ Leadership Conference, ACOA’s Annual Oncology Update, and a new ACNA Neuroscience Leadership Conference. Participants will have the option to attend sessions at any of the three simultaneous conferences, at the same price, to meet the needs of their varied responsibilities. Conference details, including conference program and exhibitor/sponsor prospectus, are available on its website,


The Lance Armstrong Foundation recently partnered with SmartBrief, an online media publishing company, to create and offer the LIVESTRONG® SmartBrief. This free, weekly cancer resource provides quick access to relevant and reliable oncology news for health care professionals by featuring the most current information pertaining to cancer research, treatments, and resources for patients.

Andy Miller, Lance Armstrong Foundation Executive Vice President of Operations, said, “Our partnership with SmartBrief will benefit health care professionals and foundation constituents by providing a weekly summary of timely oncology news, trends, and policy issues.”

Rick Stamberger, CEO of SmartBrief, Inc., added, “We are honored to be a part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s work in improving the lives of people affected by cancer. We are dedicated to providing this health care community with a valuable tool to save them time and allow them to focus on their main objective, to address both the common and unique problems cancer survivors are facing around the world.”