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

Commission on Cancer

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard setting, which promotes cancer prevention, research, education, and monitoring of comprehensive quality care.

The multidisciplinary CoC

  • Establishes standards to ensure quality, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive cancer care delivery in health care settings
  • Conducts surveys in health care settings to assess compliance with those standards
  • Collects standardized data from CoC-accredited health care settings to measure cancer care quality
  • Uses data to monitor treatment patterns and outcomes and enhance cancer control and clinical surveillance activities
  • Develops effective educational interventions to improve cancer prevention, early detection, cancer care delivery, and outcomes in health care settings.

Individuals and representatives of more than 50 cancer-related organizations comprise the membership of the CoC and contribute to the development of the CoC standards and accreditation program.

Today, there are more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico. CoC accreditation encourages hospitals, treatment centers, and other facilities to improve their quality of care through various cancer-related programs and activities. These programs are concerned with the full continuum of cancer—from prevention to survivorship and end-of-life-care—while addressing both survival and quality of life.

Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society has created a convenient Full Guidance Toolkit of six guidance documents on how to manage and promote cancer screening, cancer screening messages, and HPV vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. The six guidance documents provide information on universal screening messages and information on breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, lung cancer screening, and HPV vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New CoC Chair

Cardiothoracic surgeon Timothy W. Mullett, MD, FACS, Lexington, Ky., has begun a two-year term as chair of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Dr. Mullett has been serving as the Chair-elect of the CoC for the past year.

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Virtual Site Visit Webinar

The recording of the CoC, NAPRC and NAPBC Virtual Site Visits—What Programs Need to Know webinar is available in CoC Datalinks, NAPBC and NAPRC portals. This webinar reviews the plans for each ACS Cancer Program, share results from the pilot site visits, and discuss how the virtual plan can be used by interested programs during the pandemic.

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Webinar Series

The Better Data; Better Quality; Better Outcomes webinar series will focus on the new National Cancer Database (NCDB) reporting platform and data collection processes in addition to improvements to data elements and codes in the StANDARDS For Oncology Reporting Entry (STORE) Manual, along with changes to the AJCC cancer staging system.

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2021 Requirements

In an email sent September 16, the specific standards required for implementation in 2021 as described in the Optimal Resources for Cancer Care (2020 Standards) were outlined. Programs scheduled for a site visit in 2022 will be reviewed on 2020 and 2021 program activity.

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PUF Data Available

The NCDB is pleased to announce that the Participant User File (PUF) application for 2004-2017 PUF data is now open. The NCDB is accepting applications for site-specific files. The PUF application is open year-round, except for periods of brief maintenance and updates. Please note, there are major changes to the PUF web page and PUF data.

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Pediatric Programs

The CoC has recently determined that CoC-accredited programs with the “Pediatric Cancer Program” category designation are exempt from Standard 8.2: Cancer Prevention Event and Standard 8.3: Cancer Screening Event. Pediatric cancer programs will not be required to demonstrate compliance with either Standard 8.2 or Standard 8.3 in 2020 and beyond. Optimal Resources for Cancer Care (2020 Standards) will be updated to reflect this change. Questions? Please e-mail

Standard 9.1 Clarification

The intent of the Commission on Cancer’s Standard 9.1: Clinical Research Accrual is to increase accruals to and availability of clinical research because of its critical role in advancing knowledge in cancer medicine. In some case, Patient registries, including COVID-19 registries, with an underlying cancer research focus may be appropriate for accrual for CoC Standard 9.1. A cancer-related registry that includes patient consent and submission of a tissue or biospecimen would qualify as an accrual under Standard 9.1.

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2020 Site Visit FAQs

An FAQ document has been developed to assist CoC, NAPBC, and NAPRC program participants with the changes that have been put in place by the American College of Surgeons to postpone accreditation and verification site visits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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