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

April 2017 CoC Source

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CoC News

Become an Affiliate Member

You’re already part of our quality team. Now, join the organization.

As an American College of Surgeons (ACS) Quality Program participant, you contribute to the ACS mission of Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes. Your work—combined with that of the organization and our more than 80,000 members—contributes to the continual improvement in care of the surgical patient.

Whether you are a physician, researcher, nurse, or allied health professional, you help shape the care of surgical patients in a wide variety of health care, educational, and office environments. That professional status makes you eligible for Affiliate membership.

Affiliate Members receive many “Members-Only” benefits, including:

  • Registration discounts for select ACS meetings and conferences, including the annual ACS Clinical Congress, and discounts on patient education resources
  • Access to ACS publications, like the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the Bulletin
  • Access to the members-only side of the ACS website
  • Option to participate in banking and car rental discount programs
  • Eligibility for enrollment in the College-sponsored insurance program

Join the more than 400 Affiliate Members of the College and submit your application today. The application fee is $50. You will need to log into the ACS website to complete the application. You may already have a record in our membership database. To find out whether you have a record with us, or if you have a record and need your login information, please contact 800-293-4029 or

Advocacy Corner

Advocacy Update

The Advocacy Committee is actively supporting the following bills:

  • S. 292, H.R. 820 Childhood Cancer STAR Act
  • S. 479, H.R. 1017 Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening Act
  • H.R. 1409 Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act
  • H.R. 1676, S. 693 Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act

The committee also recently signed onto a multiorganization letter opposing repeal of tanning tax.

Contact your congressional representatives to ask them to co-sponsor these important bills.

As a coalition member of One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), the Advocacy Committee signed onto the OVAC response to President Trump’s budget proposal, which called for significant cuts to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OVAC has a strong voice in Washington, DC, and regularly responds to proposed policy impacting cancer research and program funding. OVAC will sponsor a Grassroots Lobby Day June 5–6. If you are interested in attending or if you know of patients interested in attending, contact Scholarships are available.

Accreditation Corner

Tips for Understanding and Implementing Standard 1.5: Cancer Program Goals

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) is pleased to announce the release of a tip sheet to aid programs’ compliance with Standard 1.5: Cancer Program Goals.

CoC staff prepared a comprehensive document that outlines how to successfully establish and monitor goals. The tip sheet includes examples for goal topics and goal monitoring, red flags to avoid when setting goals, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Cancer programs may locate this helpful document on the Standards Resource Library under Standard 1.5.

You must be a registered user to obtain access to both the CAnswer Forum and the Standards Resource Library.

Accreditation Award Certificates and Promotional Products

Within 30 days of your cancer program receiving its Performance Report, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) sends an email to the cancer program staff which provides a link, username, and password for The Award Group, Inc. This is the CoC's exclusive vendor for Accreditation certificates, certificate frames, and related promotional items, such as lapel pins and hospital banners. The first copy of the certificate is provided at no cost, but you must claim your complimentary certificate online via the link provided in the email.

Your certificate will be printed and mailed to the Cancer Program Administrator within 6-8 weeks after you place your order. 

Integrated Network Cancer Programs: One complimentary certificate per entire network program will be issued. Additional copies will be available for a fee.

For your convenience, The Award Group’s online system accepts all major credit cards. Checks and purchase orders are no longer accepted.

Resources for Cancer Liaison Physicians

2017 Commission on Cancer Research Paper Competition

Mission: The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care.

Annually, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) hosts a paper competition for physicians-in-training to foster the importance of oncologic research in support of its mission. Abstracts are accepted from physicians-in-training on topics specific to oncology and related to the mission of the CoC. Papers must be e-mailed to by June 30, 2017. Details on eligibility and submission requirements are available on the CoC website.

SAVE-THE-DATE for CLP Breakfast at ASCO

The Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) Breakfast will be held on June 5, 2017 during ASCO in Chicago, IL

Details will be emailed soon.

Educational Program Updates

Cancer Programs Conference: Creating a Culture of Quality

Check out what's new at the 2017 Cancer Programs Conference: Creating a Culture of Quality on September 8-9 in Rosemont (Chicago), IL. Updated agenda with some invited speakers is now posted to the conference website.

Registration is slated to open in early May. A special email blast will be sent when it does. Until then, stay up-to-date by checking the website for any breaking news.

News from Cancer Programs

ACS Clinical Research Program News

Reminder: Special Study to Target Prostate Cancer Surveillance

The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) Special Study on prostate cancer surveillance will begin April 17 and end July 17. This study will investigate optimal posttreatment surveillance for prostate cancer survivors in hopes of developing strategies to tailor follow-up based on individual risk. All eligible CoC-accredited sites are required to participate in order to fulfill Standard 5.7. All Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DoD), and pediatric sites are exempt from participation. Mergers will be required to participate in the study. Patients in the special study are not eligible for Standard 1.9, Clinical Research Accrual. The special study will collect and analyze data for 12 total patients diagnosed between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, for each site (see note below).

Note: It was previously stated that sites with a reference date of 1/1/08 would be exempt from the 2017 prostate special study. After reviewing the number of eligible patients across all CoC-accredited sites, we have decided to extend the diagnosis year to 2008 for a select number of institutions with a reference date of 1/1/08. This change will affect a small number of sites that have patients meeting eligibility criteria; these sites will be contacted directly by study staff about participation.

Data from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) will be analyzed to determine surveillance patterns. Registrars will be asked to confirm data in the NCDB warehouse as well as abstract data from follow-up studies (for example, PSA, testosterone, imaging, and biopsy) from patients’ medical records. The NCDB through the CoC is a covered entity and uses follow-up information for quality improvement purposes. Quality improvement is covered under health care operations with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Therefore, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is not necessary for this study.

The special study data will be entered into a secure web application. A set of detailed instructions will be mailed out to the mailing address listed in CoC Datalinks for the main hospital registrar at each facility. It is important that an individual is identified as hospital registrar in CoC Datalinks and his or her contact and mailing information is updated as soon as possible.

Send any questions or comments to


 AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, Eighth Edition Sessions at NCRA

During the National Cancer Registrars Association's (NCRA) 43rd Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., AJCC was presented a framed document to recognize appreciation for the dedication statement to Cancer Registrars in the AJCC Eighth Edition.

The keynote address on April 6 featured Lawrence N. Shulman, MD, Chair, Commission on Cancer. In addition, NCRA dedicated one day of the conference to highlighting the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, Eighth Edition. This was the first national meeting focused solely on preparing registrars for the new staging system. Presenters showcased what’s new and outlined the differences between the seventh and eighth editions to ensure registrars are successful in making the transition.

For the full NCRA 2017 Conference Program, please click here.

AJCC Member Donna Gress Receives Educational Achievement Award at NCRA

Donna Gress, RHIT, CTR, was presented with NCRA’s Educational Achievement Award at the Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in recognition of her outstanding contributions to cancer registry education for the cancer registry profession. Ms. Gress prepares education for CTR exam preparation, fundamentals training and other general registry topics.

AJCC Cancer Staging Manual in the Literature

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) provides resources beneficial to physicians in their use and understanding of the AJCC TNM Staging System.

On the AJCC website there is a consistent rollup of articles on the 8th edition staging system from various medical journals, which physicians can review to better understand the issues.

General Information

The Eighth Edition AJCC Cancer Staging Manual: Continuing to build a bridge from a population-based to a more “personalized” approach to cancer stagingCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians


Breast Cancer—Major changes in the American Joint Committee on Cancer Eighth Edition Cancer Staging ManualCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

Precision Medicine

American Joint Committee on Cancer acceptance criteria for inclusion of risk models for individualized prognosis in the practice of precision medicineCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians


Do radiologists have stage fright? Tumor staging and how we can add value to the care of patients with cancerRadiology

Head and Neck

Head and neck cancers—Major changes in the American Joint Committee on Cancer Eighth Edition Cancer Staging ManualCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

New system helps doctors differentiate between HPV-related and smoking-related throat cancersOmaha World-Herald


Lung cancer—Major changes in the American Joint Committee on Cancer Eighth Edition Cancer Staging ManualCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

Neuroendocrine Tumors

Modified staging classification for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors on the basis of the American Joint Committee on Cancer and European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society SystemsJournal of Clinical Oncology

Elevated plasma pancreastatin, but not Chromogranin A, predicts survival in neuroendocrine tumors of the duodenumJournal of the American College of Surgeons

Male Genital Organs

Prostate cancer—Major changes in the American Joint Committee on Cancer Eighth Edition Cancer Staging ManualCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians