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

From the Director's Desk

Why We Need Summer

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS

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

Medicine never rests. There is always more to be done, and there always seem to be more patients in need than there are hours in the day. On top of the ordinary demands, the last 16 months have stretched all of us well beyond our normal routines and limits. And while it is amazing how well we have adapted to the circumstances brought on by the pandemic, it is unfortunate that we are still experiencing disruptions in goods, services, and relationships, and that adjustments will be required for the foreseeable future. Despite all the variability we are experiencing in our normal daily lives, one thing remains a clear constant: we need to take care of ourselves.

It is a good time for all of us to refresh and reinvigorate ourselves, while the days and nights are long and our children are out of school. Hoping that many, if not all of you, can take some time off before the end of summer and use some of that time to reflect on the impact you made over the last 16 months. As we take time off, we often reassess and recommit to the purpose of the work we do and to the contributions we can make. We must remind each other that taking care of others starts with taking care of ourselves, no matter whether you are on the frontlines of patient care or you are supporting the frontlines with the tools and resources they critically need. There will be plenty to do in the coming year, so we hope each of you will have the time and opportunities you need to enjoy the delights of summer.

Register Today for Clinical Congress 2021

Registration for the virtual Clinical Congress 2021 is now open. This year's theme, Resilience in the Pursuit of Excellence, is a timely and appropriate message given the current health care climate. Clinical Congress will take place October 23–27.

Cancer Programs will offer a number of sponsored sessions during the virtual event. Be sure to read next week's issue for more information on these and other cancer-related topics.

ACS Cancer Programs Answers NCRA Conference Questions

On June 3, 2021, American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs presented several sessions at the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) Conference, including Post-COVID: Effects on Data Collection, Operations, and Patient Outcomes; The Latest in Cancer Registry Data: Improvements to STORE; and AJCC Staging and AJCC TNM Staging System: Past, Present, and Future Staging Issues. In response to questions from these sessions, ACS Cancer Programs has provided written answers, which are available on the NCRA June 3, 2021, Questions and Answers web page.

If you have additional questions, please contact

Speaking of SurgOnc Discusses Guidelines on Low-Risk Differentiated Thyroid Cancer

In this edition of the podcast series, Speaking of SurgOnc, Nancy Cho, MD, department of surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA, discusses the impact of the 2015 American Thyroid Association guideline change on clinical practice in low-risk differentiated thyroid cancer, specifically regarding the rate of completion thyroidectomy. This discussion is important for any surgeon who provides care for patients with thyroid malignancy.

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