American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

February 2015 CoC Source

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CoC News

CoC Annual Meeting Proceedings Now Available

Presentations from the recent 2014 Commission on Cancer (CoC) Annual Meeting that took place on October 26, 2014 in San Francisco are now available via the link below.

2014 CoC Oncology Lecture Now Available

View the 2014 CoC Oncology Lecture, “Challenge, Convergence, Complexity and Change in Cancer Care: Are We Ready?” given by Carolyn Compton, MD, PhD, FCAP via the link below.

Advocacy Update

OVAC Lobby Days June 8-9, 2015

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently published their annual plan and budget proposal for fiscal year 2016 in “Building on Opportunities in Cancer Research,” which is available on the NCI website. The document outlines the opportunities on which to build and advance cancer research including basic science, clinical science, and research on implementation and cancer care delivery. Taking the need to Congress for increasing appropriations for the National Institutes of Health and the NCI is an initiative of One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC).  OVAC Lobby Days are June 8–9, 2015. If you are interested in attending, contact

Accreditation Corner

2015 Improvements to the Program Activity Record in CoC Datalinks

The Program Activity Record (PAR), located in CoC Datalinks, is used by cancer programs to record cancer committee activity and documentation that demonstrates compliance with the CoC’s Standards and Eligibility Requirements during non-survey years. If your program is being surveyed in 2015, please complete the 2015 Survey Application Record (SAR)

Certain information from the 2014 PAR/SAR will be automatically transferred to the 2015 PAR/SAR.  All previous versions of the PAR/SARs are now in read-only format.  However, information for all years will need to be re-entered into the enhanced fields throughout the SAR/PAR as these changes do not allow for information to be copied from the previous version.  Keep in mind that programs need to edit, add, and/or upload data going forward within the 2015 PAR/SAR.

Enhancements to the 2015 PAR have been finalized based on feedback from our internal and external users and to align with recent changes to CoC standards and compliance criteria.

Key Enhancements and Additions

  • Cancer committee members and designated alternates: Alternates’ names no longer need to be added. You will just need to click on the “Alternate” checkbox for each required member, as appropriate. If you had previously added alternate names, please delete them and click the “Alternate” checkbox for each year in the 2015 PAR/SAR.
  • Allied Health Professionals’ table in Standard 1.1 has been moved to the Eligibility Requirements section of the main activity menu.
  • Standards 1.5 (Goals) and 4.7 (Quality Studies) tables have been revised to follow the SMART and PDSA formats.
  • A list of all required supplemental documentation to be uploaded into the SAR for compliance is available on the CoC Datalinks main activity menu.
  • Revisions and clarifications to the clinical trial accrual table in Standard 1.9.
  • Reporting tables in Standards 1.11 and 5.1 are identical and can be edited in both standard screens.
  • Chapter 3 Standards screens were revised to better reflect requirements for compliance criteria.
  • Standards 4.1 and 4.2 tables were revised to better reflect requirements to meet compliance criteria.

The CoC’s goal is for cancer programs to experience the 2015 PAR/SAR as a more user-friendly tool that will offer assistance as they prepare for survey. 

*Don’t forget to use the “I” and “FAQ” icons to help you complete the PAR. The News tab, located at the top of each page in CoC Datalinks, offers the latest information about standards, including survey processes, National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) information, and educational events.

If you have additional questions:

Note. Please include your facility name and Facility Identification Number (FIN) in ALL e-mails.

National Cancer Data Base News

NCDB Submission Success

Receipts for all required submissions to National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) must have been time-stamped by 11:59 pm (Central time), January 31, for compliance with Standard 5.5. See the submission website for registrars for details. 


NCDB highly praises those programs that submitted their data early in January! We have an all-time high of 42 percent of programs submitting their registry data by January 15. Another 18 percent of programs submitted their data during the following seven days. NCDB will remain open until midnight of April 1, 2015 to receive corrections and delayed submissions for Standard 5.6. NCDB will close for routine submissions immediately after that.


NCDB grants limited extensions for Standard 5.5 for unusual circumstances. If your program will need an extension, send the request by e-mail to Kathleen Thoburn at with the reason and the expected date for submission. Extensions must be granted before the January 31 submission deadline.

Submission Review and Tracking by the Program

NCDB expects programs to monitor the status of their data submissions in the CoC Datalinks system using the NCDB Data Submission History and Edits, View Detail links for Standards 5.5 and 5.6 to confirm that your results are what you anticipated. Note that submissions made near the deadline may not be processed yet, so keep checking. If there are discrepancies from what was expected, or if record of your submission does not appear by mid-April, contact NCDB at

NCDB sends two e-mails to everyone who makes a submission. The first e-mail sent out confirms the file was received by NCDB. Once the file is opened, validated, and edited, the registrar on record for the program will receive the second e-mail with edit results or other information if the file could not be processed. If these notifications did not reach you, please confirm that the Manage Staff Contacts section in Datalinks has the correct names and e-mail addresses for program registrars and co-registrars.

Keep Datalinks Access Confidential!

Please ensure that individuals in your program NEVER share their user ID, login ID, or password with anyone else. Not only are these used to identify recipients for crucial e-mail communications, they also serve as the mechanism that CoC uses to control secured access to your program’s data, determine which screens and applications can be accessed by each individual, as well as which communications they receive.

NCDB Extending PUF Deadline through February 6

The NCDB will accept applications for organ-site specific files including cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2012 through February 6. 

The NCDB Participant User Files (PUF) is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant data file containing cases submitted to the CoC’s NCDB and complies with the terms of the Business Associate Agreement between the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and cancer programs accredited by the CoC. The PUF contains de-identified patient level data and is designed to provide investigators at CoC-accredited cancer programs with a data resource they can use to review and advance the quality of care delivered to cancer patients through analyses of cases reported to the NCDB.

Prior to planning to submit a PUF you are advised to review provided on ACS website. It is important that you also read the Getting Started Document in order to understand the variables and limitations that could impact your proposed research. 

Applicants are expected to:

  • Be added as a PUF applicant with a CoC Datalinks username and ID (see your hospital registrar for assistance).
  • Complete the PUF application, including disease site requested, co-investigators, research question, analysis plan, and other relevant information. 
  • Receive a letter of support from your cancer programs cancer committee chair, which is to be on letterhead and uploaded at the time of submission of your application for your application to be reviewed.
  • Agree to the American College of Surgeons’ CoC NCDB PUF Purpose and Terms of Agreement and upload this document at the time of your application. This must be completed for your application to be reviewed.

Questions regarding the NCDB PUFs or the radiofrequency ablation process for a PUF may be directed to NCDB technical staff at

CP3R Update to Be Released in Spring 2015

The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) will be releasing updates to our existing measures and adding five new measures in the Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R) in spring 2015.  

Measure updates include: 

Using feedback from our constituents and consultation with clinical leadership, the NCDB continually updates our measure specifications as needed. Changes will impact three measures with this next release:

Image or palpation-guided needle biopsy (core or FNA) is performed to the primary site to establish diagnosis of breast cancer. (nBx)

  • The measure will exclude males and patients with metastatic disease.
  • Surgery is not required for a patient to be eligible for this measure.
  • Add additional censor for “Discordant biopsy results compared to suspicious imaging.”

Combination chemotherapy is considered or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for women under 70 with AJCC T1cN0, or stage IB - III hormone receptor negative breast cancer. (MAC)

  • Cases which are ER/PR negative and HER 2 positive diagnosed after 2012 will be considered compliant with the measure if single agent chemotherapy is administered and BRM is considered or administered.  

Systemic chemotherapy is administered within 4 months to day preoperatively or day of surgery to 6 months postoperatively, or it is considered for surgically resected Lung cases with pathologic, lymph node-positive (pN1) and (pN2) NSCLC. (LCT)

  • Allow for unknown day of treatment fields. Incomplete dates will be compliant if we can determine that they fall within the range otherwise they will still be incomplete.

Five new measures will also be released in CP3R in spring 2015: 


Use of brachytherapy in patients treated with primary radiation with curative intent in any stage of cervical cancer. (CBRRT)
Radiation therapy completed within 60 days of initiation of radiation among women diagnosed with any stage of cervical cancer. (CERRT)


Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is administered within 120 days preoperatively, or administered 90 days following surgery, or considered not administered, for AJCC stage IB - IIIC gastric cancer patients age 18-79. (GCT)


Surgery is not the first course of treatment for cN2, M0 cases (LNoSurg)


Preoperative (or neoadjuvant) chemotherapy and radiation therapy are considered or administered for patients under the age of 80 for clinical AJCC T3N0, T4N0, or Stage III, prior to receiving resection for rectal cancer.  
Postoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy are considered or administered within 6 months (180 days) of diagnosis for patients who are both clinical AJCC T1-2N0 and pathologic AJCC T3N0, T4N0, or Stage III, receiving resection for rectal cancer. (RECRTCT - replaces current rectal measure)

Interpreting the NCDB Quality Measures: Understanding Surveillance, Accountability, and Quality Improvement Measures

The CoC and the CoC’s Quality Integration Committee approve quality measures to be reported in the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) Quality Reporting Tools. These measures use cancer registry data elements to track compliance, allowing CoC-accredited cancer programs to benchmark their performance with other CoC-accredited programs. This document defines the three types of measures and briefly describes the measures currently found in the NCDB Quality Reporting Tools. 

There are several types of measures and it is important to understand the function of each. Evidence-based measures or accountability measures promote improvements in care delivery and are the highest standard for measurement. These measures demonstrate provider accountability, influence payment for services, and promote transparency. The quality improvement measure function is to monitor the need for quality improvement or remediation. Generally, these measures are for individual program use. Surveillance measures are used to identify the status quo, generate information for decision making, and/or to monitor patterns and trends of care. 

The following table summarizes the purposes and use of these measures: 

 Measure Type

 Measure definition and use


High level of evidence supports the measure, including multiple randomized control trials. These measures can be used for such purposes as public reporting, payment incentive programs, and the selection of providers by consumers, health plans, or purchasers. 

 Quality Improvement

Evidence from experimental studies, not randomized control trials supports the measure. These are intended for internal monitoring of performance within an organization. 


Limited evidence exist that supports the measure or the measure is used for informative purposes to accredited programs. These measures can be used for to identify the status quo as well as monitor patterns and trends of care in order to guide decision-making and resource allocation.

The NCDB has received questions on the interpretation of the two recently released surveillance measures: 

  • Breast conservation surgery rate for women with AJCC clinical stage 0, I, or II breast cancer.
  • At least 10 regional lymph nodes are removed and pathologically examined for AJCC stage IA, IB, IIA, and IIB resected non-small cell lung cancer. 

There is no expected rate for these measures. Both are provided to CoC-accredited cancer programs for surveillance purposes only. There are many clinical and patient choice factors that determine a cancer program’s breast conservation surgery rate; however, the CoC considers it important to share this information with accredited programs. 

We also recognize the potential limitation of the non-small cell lung cancer nodal measure. The NCDB does not currently collect nodal station for resected lung cancer; however, studies show a survival benefit for patients with 10 or more regional lymph nodes removed and pathologically examined. There is not enough evidence to support this measure as either a quality improvement or accountability measure but the committee considers this valuable information to share with programs. 

Table 2. CoC Quality Measures

Measure Abbreviation

 Measure Type

 Measure Specifications





(NQF #219) Radiation therapy is administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women under age 70 receiving breast conserving surgery for breast cancer.



(NQF #0559) Combination chemotherapy is considered or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for women under 70 with AJCC T1cN0M0, or stage IB - III hormone receptor negative breast cancer.





(NQF #0220) Tamoxifen or third generation aromatase inhibitor is considered or administered within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis for women with AJCC T1cN0M0, or stage IB - III hormone receptor positive breast cancer.



Radiation therapy is considered or administered following any mastectomy within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis of breast cancer for women with ≥ 4 positive regional lymph nodes.


 Quality Improvement

Image or palpation-guided needle biopsy (core or FNA) is performed to establish diagnosis of breast cancer.



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




(NQF #0223) Adjuvant chemotherapy is considered or administered within 4 months (120 days) of diagnosis for patients under the age of 80 with AJCC Stage III (lymph node positive) colon cancer.



 Quality Improvement

(NQF #0225) At least 12 regional lymph nodes are removed and pathologically examined for resected colon cancer.




Radiation therapy is considered or administered within 6 months (180 days) of diagnosis for patients under the age of 80 with clinical or pathologic AJCC T4N0M0 or stage III receiving surgical resection for rectal cancer.




 Quality Improvement

At least 15 regional lymph nodes are removed and pathologically examined for resected gastric cancer.

Non-Small Cell Lung 




At least 10 regional lymph nodes are removed and pathologically examined for AJCC stage IA, IB, IIA, and IIB resected NSCLC


 Quality Improvement

Systemic chemotherapy is administered within 4 months to day preoperatively or day of surgery to 6 months postoperatively, or it is considered for surgically resected cases with pathologic, lymph node-positive (pN1) and (pN2) NSCLC.

 If you have any questions regarding the CoC quality measures, please contact

Resources for Cancer Liaison Physicians

Save the Date! Attention All Cancer Liaison Physicians

This year the Committee on Cancer Liaison will hold two breakfast meetings for Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) to hear new initiatives and to network with CLPs from across the U.S.  

The first CLP breakfast meeting will be held in conjunction with the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology ”Transforming Data Into Learning” annual meeting in Chicago, IL, 6:30 am, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick on Monday, June 1.  

The second CLP breakfast meeting will be held in Chicago on Monday, October 5, in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress.  

We hope to see you there!

What Every CLP Should Know

  • Each appointed CLP receives an e-mail with a user ID and password to CoC Datalinks. If you have a problem logging on, please e-mail to obtain the user ID and password or to have a new one issued. Please be sure that you have a working e-mail address on file that is checked regularly.
  • You can contact us at to get the term dates for your current CLP at any time.
  • If the cancer committee has made a decision to retain the current CLP for another term before that CLP’s term has expired, a request may be made through an e-mail to Make sure the current e-mail address of the CLP is included.
  • A CLP’s term is for three years. However, we realize that circumstances arise that may prevent a CLP from serving a full term. It is permissible for the cancer committee to recommend another physician to take over the CLP term. If this should happen, please send an e-mail to
  • CLPs serving in their role for less than six months do not have to complete the CLP activity report in the SAR. The former CLP should complete this report before being replaced.

Are You Being Surveyed?

The CLP is expected to be present during the CoC survey, and available to meet one-on-one with the surveyor. As the CLP, you can expect that during this confidential meeting,  the surveyor will be supportive of the challenges and opportunities that you face in your efforts to evaluate and improve the quality of care in your cancer program.

CLP Activity Report

As the CLP, one of your tasks is to complete the CLP activity report. This report is found in CoC Datalinks and is part of your Survey Application Record (SAR). Not only is it important to complete this report during the time of your program’s scheduled survey, your responses are used to make program improvements, to gauge your work in the field, and to inform the surveyor of your activities. Be sure to familiarize yourself with this report and complete it on an annual basis.

New State Chairs

The CoC would like to welcome a new State Chair:

Amanda Ayers, MD, FACS

Connecticut State Chair

Educational Programs and Resources

Register Today for Accreditation 101

Accreditation 101: Learning the Basics of CoC Accreditation and Standards 
Friday, February 27, 2015
Chicago, IL 

Register now for Accreditation 101. 

If you are working for a cancer program that is interested in CoC accreditation or are a new staff member working in a CoC-accredited program, then this one-day workshop is for you. Leave this program with an understanding of the CoC accreditation process and your role in delivering high-quality, patient-centered care. This is the only CoC standards and survey process workshop offered by the developers of Cancer Program Standards 2012 Version 1.2.1: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care.

This workshop provides the information and insights you need to develop and operate a high-quality cancer program. Cancer patients entering your doors will discover the value of your program’s compliance with a set of nationally recognized standards focusing on program development, clinical services, continuum of care services, patient outcomes, and data quality. 

For more information, visit the Accreditation 101 web page

Registration Fees:
$500 pre-registration
$550 on-site

This fee includes a copy of the Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care v1.2.1, ($50.00 value), resource materials, breakfast, lunch, and breaks.

Register today! Space is limited. 

Please share this information with other members of your staff who would benefit from the information that is being presented.

Registration for Survey Savvy and NCDB Tools Workshop Set to Open in mid-February

Mark your calendars now for the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) Tools Workshop and Survey Savvy. Both workshops will be held in Chicago in June 2015. Registration is scheduled to open in mid-February. Stay tuned to the CoC Source and CoC Brief for further details. 

NCDB Tools Workshop 

June 17, 2015

12:00–5:00 pm 

Chicago, IL

Registration Fees: 

$300 before or on May 15, 2015

$350 after May 15, 2015

Program Overview 

This workshop will review the current uses and future updates for the NCDB quality tools. Major NCDB quality tools will be reviewed with a focus on how the data can be used to inform decisions for cancer program administration and by cancer physicians. Information will also be presented on uses of the cancer registry and how data can be used by patient navigators. Presenters from the NCDB staff, clinical leadership, and external current users will provide context and examples of tool development, expectations and current uses of the NCDB quality tools. 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand upcoming changes to the NCDB quality tools
  • Define additional CoC quality of cancer care measures to be added to NCDB quality tools
  • Describe different uses of NCDB quality tools within CoC-accredited cancer programs
  • Understand how to use the Completeness and Default Overuse Report 

Survey Savvy 

June 18–19, 2015

Chicago, IL 

Registration Fees: 

$750 before or on May 15, 2015

$850 after May 15, 2015

Program Overview

Survey Savvy, established by the CoC, provides attendees with an in-depth review of the information cancer committees need to coordinate and oversee a high-quality, patient-centered, multidisciplinary cancer program. Through lectures, panel presentations, and the opportunity to meet and speak with the experts, cancer program members will learn how to use the CoC standards as a framework to develop a comprehensive cancer care program that delivers high-quality and patient-centered care. 

Developed by CoC staff and various CoC leadership committees, this conference has been developed to address cancer programs’ most common questions, issues, and concerns regarding CoC standards and compliance. Whether your cancer program is preparing for a reaccreditation or looking to expand your working knowledge of the standards—after attending Survey Savvy, you will leave with an increased understanding of standard requirements and implementation.

Learning Objectives 

At the conclusion of this conference, participants will be able to:

  • Define the purpose of Chapter 3 “Continuum of Care Services” Standards and how to apply the implementation process for compliance
  • Summarize the role of the Community Needs Assessment and explain how it is used to meet compliance for multiple standards
  • Distinguish how 2015 phase-in standards will be evaluated for compliance
  • Identify the components of successful cancer prevention and screening programs
  • Differentiate what are appropriate and compliant studies of quality and quality improvements
  • Paraphrase recent changes and updates within the NCDB and available data reporting tools


Participants should have experience working in a CoC-accredited cancer program, have a working knowledge of the CoC Standards and what is required for the cancer committee to meet compliance. This conference is not intended for individuals who are unfamiliar with the CoC Standards. 

Survey Savvy is designed for cancer committee members and cancer program leadership. Attendees should include, but not limited to:

  • President, or vice-president of Clinical Services
  • Director of oncology services
  • Chief executive officer
  • Cancer program administrator
  • Cancer tumor registrar
  • Cancer liaison physician
  • Oncology nurse
  • Patient navigator
  • Social worker
  • Cancer Committee chair
  • CoC-Designated Cancer Committee coordinators

News from ACoS Cancer Programs


AJCC Curriculum for Registrars—Module I Available for Free

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has posted module I of their AJCC Curriculum for Registrars. The modules are free for everyone. You can access them here

An outline of the module follows: 

Module I Introduction

  • Overview of staging
  • High-level explanation of why and how
  • For staff that does not assign stage (many central registry staff, statisticians, researchers) 
    • Basic principles of stage
    • Understand terminology used
    • Only lesson they will need
  • For staff assigning stage 
    • Foundation of why AJCC staging is different from CS and summary stage
    • How it is used

The first live webinar will occur on February 24. Register today. This will be recorded for anyone that is not able to attend the live session. 


NAPBC and NCoBC Announce “Best Practices for Breast Centers” Post-Conference

We are happy to announce the first time presentation of this one-day conference on "Best Practices for Breast Centers" presented by NAPBC and NQMBC, the recognized authorities on breast centers.  We have gathered experts in the many clinical disciplines represented in breast centers and have asked them to provide practical solutions and quality metrics to achieve best practice in each area.  

This conference immediately follows the three-day meeting of the National Consortium of Breast Centers in Las Vegas on March 17, 2015.  Discounts apply to those attending the NCoBC conference.  Please review the brochure describing the full agenda by clicking here.

We expect to fill all our available seats so please register early!

See you there, 

Cary S. Kaufman MD, FACS

Past Chair, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers

Past President, National Consortium of Breast Centers

Randy Stevens, MD

Chair, Education Committee, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers 

Claudia Lee, MBA

President, C. Z. Lee and Associates

Past Board Member: National Consortium of Breast Centers and National Accreditation Programs for Breast Centers

Standard 2.20 – Breast Cancer Survivorship Phase-In Implementation Plan

Standard 2.20 is effective January 1, 2015. Please review Standard 2.20 – Breast Cancer Survivorship in the 2014 NAPBC Standards Manual. A complimentary download of the manual is available on our website.

The expectation of the standard is that 100 percent of eligible survivors receive a Survivorship Care Plan (SCP). However, a phased-in implementation will be used. The specific survey requirements by survey date are outlined below. Please refer to the NAPBC Standards Manual for more specifics related to eligible patients and other requirements.

 Survey Date

 Documentation Required

Percentage/Number of Patients Receiving Care Plans 

December 2014–March 2015 

SCP approved by Breast Program Leadership (BPL) and documented in the minutes 

Documentation in the BPL minutes of the process for delivery of SCPs (for example, who delivers, timing) 

Methodology to monitor percentage of patients receiving SCPs

No minimum requirement 

April–December 2015 

SCP approved by BPL and documented in the minutes 

Documentation in the BPL minutes of the process for delivery of SCPs (for example, who delivers, timing) 

Methodology to monitor percentage of patients receiving SCPs 

Compliance will be achieved if 50 percent of eligible patients receive a SCP. 

Two (2) charts showing delivery of the SCP will be reviewed. The center will self-select the charts. 

The surveyor will review as part of the medical record review at the time of the on-site visit. 

January 2016 and beyond 

SCP approved by BPL and documented in the minutes 

Annual BPL Review of the SCP documented in the BPL minutes 

Documentation in the BPL minutes of the process for delivery of SCPs (for example, who delivers, timing) 

Methodology to monitor percentage of patients receiving SCPs 

Compliance will be achieved if 100 percent of eligible patients receive a SCP. 

The surveyor will review as part of the medical record review during the on-site visit. 

The Standard 2.20 phase-in plan and other changes/clarifications of the 2014 NAPBC Standards Manual are available on our website.

News from the Oncology Community

New APOS Webinar: Overcoming Challenges in Implementing Distress Screening

Thursday, February 5

12:00–1:30 pm (EST)

The CoC accreditation standard concerning distress screening is now in effect. The webinar presenters represent early-, mid-, and late- adopters of distress screening and will discuss challenges they faced in implementing distress screening in their setting and how they addressed them. Please join us for a lively and informative discussion that will help you move forward with implementing distress screening with cancer patients in a changing health care landscape.


Teresa Deshields, PhD
Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

Matthew Loscalzo, LCSW
City of Hope National Medical Center

Ellen Dornelas, PhD
Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute

Amanda Seltzer, MSW
Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute

Register Online: APOS Members: No Cost | Non-Members: $45/each

*No CEU credit will be offered for participation in this webinar.

An NCI-Funded Training for Psychosocial Distress Screening Program Development Accepting Applications

The Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program trains cancer care providers on how to develop, implement, and maintain psychosocial screening programs to meet the CoC’s new quality care standard. Applications to attend a workshop on this screening are now being accepted. The deadline for submission is April 1.

Funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program is a joint project of Yale University School of Nursing and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). With an international faculty of leading psychosocial cancer care professionals and researchers, the program will train two cancer care providers from one cancer care facility over two years. The first year starts with a beginner’s one-day workshop held at the APOS conference in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2015, and continues with four conference-call teaching sessions throughout the year. The second year includes an advanced one-day workshop and two conference-call teaching sessions throughout the year.

Successful implementation and ongoing maintenance of a psychosocial screening program are enhanced with the participation of two people from each cancer care facility at the training. Funding for the Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program covers the APOS conference registration and allows for a stipend that covers the cost of attending the program. The program enrolls up to 18 cancer care facilities each year for a total of 36 participants. More information and an application can be found on the APOS website

25th World Congress of Lymphology

The National Lymphedema Network invites you to the 25th World Congress of Lymphology (WCOL) September 7–11 at the Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, CA. The congress will be a premiere global meeting dedicated to both basic and clinical lymphology as well as other disorders of the lymphatic system. The congress will provide an exclusive opportunity for clinical and basic scientists, researchers, and practicing health care professionals to collaborate on our theme "Lymphology: Past, Present, and Future." The WCOL's program will include: a faculty of distinguished global experts presenting and discussing late-breaking findings on a wide variety of topics, immersion in unique instructional sessions, easy access to a comprehensive industry exhibition hall, and, this year, a special companion program tailored for patients.


Register Now for NCRA’s 2015 Annual Education Conference

The National Cancer Registrar Association’s (NCRA's) 41st Annual Educational Conference (NCRA 2015) will be held May 20–23, at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, TX. The theme is On a Mission: Education for a Changing Environment. Critical topics will be addressed to ensure registrars are current with advancements and changes in the field. Several plenaries will focus on the transition from Collaborative Stage to Directly Coded Stage. More than 50 plenary and concurrent sessions are scheduled. Earn 18 continuing education (CE) credits in three days. Learn more and register at

NCRA Announces New Live Webinar Series on Directly Coded Stage

The transition from Collaborative Stage to Directly Coded Stage is scheduled to take place January 2016. That is just a year away, and NCRA is committed to helping registrars get ready. NCRA's new seven-part webinar series focuses on specific sites and has been designed to complement NCRA’s fall 2014 series on the general rules. The upcoming webinars include: NCI Summary Stage: Lung Cancer (February 11); NCI Summary Stage: Melanoma (February 25); NCI Summary Stage: Endometrial Cancer (March 4); American Joint Committee on Cancer Tumor size, Lymph Nodes affected, Metastases. (AJCC TNM) Stage: Lung Cancer (March 18); AJCC TNM Stage: Prostate Cancer (April 1); AJCC TNM Stage: Thyroid Cancer (April 15); and AJCC TNM Stage: Lymphoma (April 29). Group rates for six or more attendees are available. Learn more and register at

2015 CTR Exam Dates Announced  

NCRA's Council on Certification has announced the 2015 Cancer Tumor Registrars (CTR) exam dates. They are February 28–March 21; June 20–July 11; and October 17–November 7. To learn more, including application deadlines, exam details, and to download a copy of the 2015 CTR Exam Handbook & Application, visit

Now Available! NCRA’s 2015 CTR Exam Prep Resources

NCRA’s has revised its popular study guide for the 2015 CTR exam. Five new case studies have been added and a companion CD contains additional study resources. The topics and dates for the winter 2015 online CTR Exam Prep Workshop have been determined and the online practice test has been updated to reflect changes with the 2015 exam. To learn more, go to  

Monthly Spotlight: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

The CoC regularly collaborates with more than 50 member organizations in its mission to provide quality cancer care. This month we focus on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).  

The mission of the ASPS is to advance quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice, and research in plastic surgery. The society is a strong advocate for patient safety and requires its members to operate in accredited surgical facilities that have passed rigorous external review of policies, equipment, and staffing. 

Though plastic surgery has many facets, the ASPS mission is perhaps most evident in the society’s advocacy, public education, and research initiatives focusing on breast reconstruction. As part of the team approach to breast cancer patient care, plastic surgeons are available to offer information and surgical options to women seeking to mitigate the physical effects of breast cancer following mastectomy.

Through The Plastic Surgery Foundation, ASPS is active in the development of several national registries and clinical studies to improve patient safety, including its PROFILE Registry, which focuses on cases of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma; the GRAFT Registry, which focuses on fat grafting to the breast where some of the data points deal with reconstruction as a result of cancer and cancer recurrence; and the CRAFT Study, which studied cancer recurrence in women who underwent breast reconstruction with and without fat grafting. To learn more about these ongoing research initiatives, please visit  

ASPS has long championed the rights of women through a longstanding, robust advocacy program responsible for driving passage of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998—federal legislation that requires insurance providers to cover breast reconstruction following mastectomy. The society also promotes the rights of breast cancer patients to be informed of their treatment options through its support of the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act, which was introduced in Congress in 2013 (similar legislation has been enacted in several states). In May 2014, ASPS continued its efforts to push the legislation by delivering a letter signed by 23 organizations in support of the act. 

The society also remains dedicated to promoting education, research, and public awareness through initiatives such as the Breast Reconstruction Measure Development Project, which will convene a group of experts from ASPS membership, patients, and other organizations to develop performance measures that address gaps and variations in care among breast reconstruction patients. The goal is to develop process and outcome measures, which will ultimately improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.   

The society’s Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, held annually on the third Wednesday of October, brings together thousands of women’s health advocates from across the country for a common purpose—to raise awareness about reconstructive rights and options available to women who have experienced mastectomy or lumpectomy due to breast cancer treatment. More than 150 ASPS member practices from 44 states convened in spirit in 2014 to celebrate and educate their communities through events that commemorated Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. These events are designed to raise awareness of reconstructive options and support The PSF’s Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund, which provides resources for awareness initiatives, research and charity care.  In 2015, ASPS is teaming with legendary singer Patti LaBelle as its national spokesperson for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.   

Through these initiatives and more, ASPS remains committed to promoting innovation in treatment and patient safety while advocating for the rights of women with breast cancer to know their surgical options and receive the treatment that best fits their recovery goals.

Event Information
Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day USA: October 21, 2015
For more information, visit

Recent Publications and/or Products
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (scientific journal):
PRS Global Open (open-access journal):
Plastic Surgery News (news publication) 

For more information on this organization, please contact:
American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 444 E. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL
Phone: 847-228-9900