The reference date is the date after which all eligible cases must be included in the registry. A reference date is established by the cancer committee prior to initial survey. The reference date is January 1 of the specified year.
Once approved, programs cannot change the reference date unless circumstances cause a need to petition the Commission on Cancer for a change. Each request is given individual consideration based on changes in the patient population or hospital census, flaws or lapses in data collection, changes in data acquisition methods, or a high lost-to-follow-up rate due to the longevity of the registry.
One disadvantage of changing the reference date is that cases accessioned prior to the new reference date become non-analytic (Class of Case 35 or 37), and are not included in outcome analysis.
The reference date is documented in the cancer registry policy and procedure manual.
Reference dates may be changed only one time every five (5) years. The reference date change form must be completed in its entirety and signed by an authorized cancer program staff member.
Questions or concerns regarding reference year should be e-mailed to SAR@facs.org.
Request to Change Reference Year Form