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

From the Director's Desk

Reflections on the National Cancer Registrars Association Meeting and "Rolling Updates"

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS
Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs

As the recent National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) meeting came to a close, it was clear that despite being virtual it was a great success. There were many informative presentations, and the chats were full of questions that encouraged rich dialogue. A recurring theme for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs is the challenges of rolling updates.

There can be no doubt that changing cancer staging, standards, and data fields is disruptive to the work of many and to the stability and consistency of longitudinal data. The good news is that most of the changes reflect the fact that cancer care is positively evolving with better diagnostics and therapeutics, and the patients are the beneficiaries of these advancements. Keeping cancer data relevant to current practices is an important goal but difficult to achieve.

The ACS Cancer Programs intends to facilitate a more deliberate and less disruptive approach toward predictable, annual releases of standards and data field updates by more consistently harmonizing our internal efforts to coordinate our work within the larger cancer data ecosystem, which includes many diverse groups. We appreciate hearing from all of you who took time to express your concerns and submit your questions. We heard you and will work harder to design a predictable approach to annual updates that we can all accept.

Return to Screening PDSA and Clinical Study: Updates and Next Steps

We are delighted to report that the response to the Return to Screening PDSA and Clinical Study has been outstanding, with more than 900 REDCap unique submissions and roughly 750 unique programs signed up. While we still have some work to do to verify the submissions and data, there can be no doubt this effort will prevent unnecessary cancers and save lives. If programs reach their goals, tens of thousands of additional Americans will get screened. Thank you!

As we wrap up the PLANNING phase of the PDSA, we are now starting to launch the second phase of the Return to Screening PDSA and Clinical Study, which is about DOING and STUDYING.

The next phase starts with receiving the REDCap FORMS B/C that are unique to each program and connect back with the original FORM A. By now, all programs that enrolled in the Return to Screening Clinical Research Study should have received an e-mail with instructions and links to REDCap FORMS B/C: Post-Intervention Monthly Data Collection and Intervention Log.

To ensure that everyone is confident in how to monitor screening rates and keep proper records of their screening intervention, we will be hosting an informational webinar. Register today for the Next Phase webinar on June 23 at 12:00 noon CT. The webinar will provide updates on the preliminary results from the enrollment phase and will be a review of details on how to monitor screening rates using FORM B and the use of FORM C as an activity tracker of interventions.

All study participants and local PIs are strongly encouraged to attend the live webinar, as we will have plenty of time for Q&A. The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

We appreciate your interest and participation in this important return to screening effort and look forward to seeing you at the June 23 webinar.

ACS Offers New Patient Education Program for Breast Cancer Patients

Under the aegis of the ACS Division of Education, the Patient Education Program has created a free, digital resource for breast cancer patients. Developed by surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and patients, Your Breast Cancer Surgery Program uses evidence-based education and video skills training to help patients stay engaged and informed throughout their treatment and recovery. Patients are encouraged to read each section of the guide, watch the accompanying videos, explore the interactive tools, and write down any questions or concerns they might have to share with their doctors as they discuss treatment options. Topics covered in the guide include:

  • Understanding breast cancer
  • Explaining tests and exams
  • Preparing for and understanding surgery
  • Healing and recovering from surgery
  • Planning for breast reconstruction
  • Considering other therapies beyond surgery
  • Living a healthy life beyond surgery

For additional information, please contact Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, FSACME, MAMSE. at; Kathleen C. Heneghan, PhD, MSN, RN, FAACE, at; Nancy Strand, MPH, RN, at; or Tarra G. Barot, PhD, at