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

From the Director's Desk

Labor Day, State Fairs, and Back to School

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS

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

Days are shorter, nights are cooler, and summer has slipped away. While not everyone experiences a late summer state fair, we can all recall some event that signifies the closing out of summer, including going back to school with sharpened number two pencils, backpacks laden with books, and the promise of filling the pages of notebooks with knowledge. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs will be back in virtual school this fall with a great lineup of educational offerings. There is something for everyone.

The main fall educational event for surgeons and oncologists is the virtual ACS Clinical Congress, which will offer diverse cancer topics to choose from. There will be at least 18 Scientific Forum sessions, 14 Panel Sessions, miscellaneous Didactic Courses and Meet-the-Expert Sessions on cancer, as well as the annual Commission on Cancer (CoC) Oncology Lecture, which this year will feature Lisa Newman, MD, MPH, FACS, who will speak on disparities in cancer care. It is not too late to register for Clinical Congress!

CAnswer Forum LIVE also will be providing important updates on topics, including the Rapid Cancer Reporting System (RCRS) and 2022 changes within the STORE manual. For more information on education and events, please visit the Cancer Programs web page. We hope you can set aside a bit of time to learn something new this fall.

American College of Surgeons Honors Former Cancer Programs Medical Director Dr. David P. Winchester

The American College of Surgeons announced that it will present its highest honor given annually, the Distinguished Service Award, to former ACS Cancer Programs Medical Director and general surgeon David P. Winchester, MD, FACS, who practiced for many years in Evanston, IL.

Dr. Winchester will be honored at the virtual Convocation ceremony, the evening of Sunday, October 24, during the ACS Clinical Congress, also a virtual event. The ACS Board of Regents Honors Committee selected Dr. Winchester for this distinction "in appreciation for his exceptional and continuous service as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and his role as Medical Director for the College's Commission on Cancer (CoC), the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), the National Cancer Database (NCDB), and the ACS Cancer Research Program (CRP)," according to the award citation.

Dr. Winchester is considered a natural leader, who possesses integrity, vision, and a steadfast commitment to the College's initiatives and principles. He serves as a role model to surgeons everywhere "to always do the right thing for patients," the citation notes.

The award recognizes "his vision and dedication in developing a national accreditation program related to the alignment of the highest standards and quality of care in the treatment of breast cancer and rectal cancer," the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) and the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), respectively. It also acknowledges "his exemplary leadership of the College's many Cancer Program initiatives," his representation on behalf of the College to other surgical and medical professional organizations, and "his role as a mentor, teacher, and trainer of the next generation of surgical oncologists."

A Fellow of the College since 1974, Dr. Winchester served as Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs from 1985 to 1998 and 2001 to 2019, when he retired from ACS. In this capacity, he also served as Executive Director, AJCC (1992−1998, 2001−2019) and Chair of the Board, NAPBC (2006−2011).

Don't Miss Gastric Cancer Sessions at Clinical Congress 2021

If you are looking for information on gastric cancer, Clinical Congress offers two sessions specifically focused on this topic. Both take place on Tuesday, October 26, back-to-back at 1:00 and 2:00 pm CT.

Panel session PS456,The Role of Robotics in Gastrointestinal Oncologic Surgery, begins at 1:00 pm CT. This session features robotic surgical oncology experts in their respective multidisciplinary fields (GI oncology, hepatobiliary surgery, MIS, colorectal, head and neck, and others) presenting evidence of clinical outcomes associated with robotic surgery. Panelists will also comment on current related controversies. The session will be moderated by Herbert J. Zeh III, MD, FACS, and co-moderated by Alessio Pigazzi, MD, FACS. Additional panelists include Abhineet Uppal, MD; Adam Yopp, MD, FACS; Karim Hazalun, MD; and Melissa E. Hogg, MD, FACS.

Panel session PS462, Gastric Cancer Management in the Real World: How to Optimize Outcomes for Individual Patients, follows at 2:00 pm CT. Clinical outcomes for patients with gastric cancer have not improved significantly in decades. Potential reasons include issues with appropriate staging, quality of surgery, and use and sequence of adjunctive therapies. This Panel Session discusses the elements of successful multimodality therapy for patients with gastric cancer, including accurate staging, definition of high-quality surgery and guideline-concordant care, incorporation of adjunctive therapies, and nutritional support. In addition, the session will also generate discussion about less standardized aspects of treatment such as the use of staging laparoscopy, scenarios when upfront surgery may be appropriate for locally advanced patients, and the use of HIPEC. This session will be moderated by Kaitlyn J. Kelly, MD FACS, and co-moderated by Bruce M. Brenner, MD, FACS. Additional panelists include Joyce Wong, MD; Brian D. Badgwell, MD, FACS; and Joseph Chao, MD.

Learn more about additional cancer programming at Clinical Congress 2021 . Stay tuned to this newsletter for any updates.

Return to Screening PDSA and Clinical Study: Frequently Asked Questions

We continue to receive questions from programs about recording monthly screening rates and REDCap forms for the Return to Screening Plan/Do/Study/Act (PDSA) and Clinical Study. Please take a moment to review the information below and be sure you are compliant.

Our program met our goal already. Do we continue entering in data each month?

Yes, it is very important that you continue to monitor screening volumes each month from June to the end of November. If the intervention(s) you initiated is(are) working well and your monthly screening volumes continue to achieve or exceed your monthly target, then you may not need to initiate any other interventions. If the volumes drop below target, it is best to either reactivate the first intervention or initiate another intervention. Please continue to record your post-intervention monthly screening rates through REDCap if you are participating in the clinical study or through the online forms if you are only doing the PDSA.

FAQs for Return to Screening PDSA Clinical Study:

We inadvertently entered the wrong information for pre-pandemic and pandemic screening numbers into REDCap form A. How can we adjust the form?

Please e-mail Jessica Dangles ( and include the following information: name and e-mail of the individual who completed the form (this may be different from your PI), disease site, and your updated numbers.

Form A was filled out by someone who no longer works at our institution. How can we access form B/C?

Please e-mail Jessica Dangles ( and include the following information: name and e-mail of the individual who completed the form (this may be different from your PI) and disease site. You will receive a copy of form A along with the URL to access form B/C.

Documenting in the COVID Tracker

In mid-2020, ACS Cancer Programs created a resource for programs to use during the COVID-19 pandemic as an organized way to track which standards were affected by the pandemic and how they were affected. The COVID-19 Accreditation Tracker, available in each program's portal(s), should be used for 2020 and 2021 activities with a separate tracker for each year. If a program could not comply with a standard due to the pandemic, the tracker must be uploaded to the PRQ (under the General Documents/Other section) for its next site visit.

Only those standards that were affected by the pandemic need to be completed in the tracker. Information provided should include the following:

  • How the pandemic affected compliance for the standard
  • What issues/barriers were encountered
  • Whether there was partial compliance or full non-compliance
  • If available, an action plan to achieve compliance with proposed timeframe (this would be expected more so with 2021 activity)

The Cancer Committee, Breast Program Leadership Committee, and/or Rectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Team minutes also are to include a summary and updates as to how the program was affected overall, as well as the status for any standard affected by the pandemic. Status should describe where you are in the action plan process or the issues/barriers still affecting compliance. Note that standalone statements such as "affected by COVID-19 or cancelled due to pandemic" will not be accepted.

Deficiency resolutions: If you have a deficiency in a standard and are unable to resolve it due to the pandemic and your due date is near, you will need to submit the COVID-19 Accreditation Tracker as well as the supporting minutes documenting the issues, an action plan, and status for any deficient standard affected. ACS Cancer Program Staff will review and communicate next steps as appropriate.

Please note: The COVID-19 Accreditation Tracker may not be used in lieu of standard compliance for programs undergoing initial accreditation.

Dr. Steven Wexner Profiled in the Bulletin

The September issue of the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons features a wide-ranging interview with Steven D. Wexner, MD, FACS, FRCSEng, FRCSEd, FRCSI(Hon), FRCSGlasg(Hon). Dr. Wexner, director, Digestive Disease Center, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston, serves as Vice-Chair of the ACS Board of Regents and Chair of the NAPRC.

Update Your Staff Contacts

To make sure that you and your staff are receiving the weekly Cancer Programs News newsletter, Cancer Programs updates, and other important information, please take a few minutes to review your current staff contacts and confirm the information listed for each individual is correct. Please add any missing staff members or remove staff members who are no longer at your facility. Additionally, please make sure that you have indicated a billing contact and a primary contact for National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer sites.


To manage contacts for CoC programs, a current contact at a CoC program should log into CoC Datalinks and click on Manage Staff Contacts. There, you can see the current contacts and determine if information needs to be updated. For questions, please refer to the User Roles and Access Definitions in the upper-left corner of the page.


To manage NAPBC and NAPRC contacts, the site's primary contact should log into the Quality Portal. In the left navigation bar, click on Site Contacts. Only the site's primary contact may make changes or add or remove contacts.

If you have questions, please send an e-mail to,, or