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

The Brief: February 27, 2020

ACS Cancer Programs Updates

Watch your inbox for Cancer Programs News

This marks the final edition of The Brief. Beginning next week, on March 5, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs will launch a new newsletter, Cancer Programs News. In addition to providing the latest news and updates from all ACS Cancer Programs, the new newsletter will feature new content, including a regular column from Medical Director Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS; profiles of program leaders and member organizations; and bylined articles from our volunteers and members. Please make sure to ask your institution to whitelist our IP address and domain to ensure the new Cancer Programs News arrives in your inbox. Archived copies of The Brief will be available on the Cancer Programs website.

Watch your inbox next Thursday for this new communication from ACS Cancer Programs.

NCDB data used to develop colorectal cancer recurrence risk-assessment tool

A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology utilized data from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) to develop an individualized colorectal cancer recurrence risk-assessment tool. This web-based calculator is housed at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center domain and can be used by physicians and patients in shared decision making to guide management discussions. Primary data regarding first recurrence in 8,249 patients with colorectal cancer were abstracted by registrars at 1,175 Commission on Cancer-accredited sites through a special study conducted in 2015. Details on the development of the risk-assessment tool and special study methods are available on the Annals of Surgical Oncology website.

Don't miss early-bird deadlines for 2020 ACS Leadership & Advocacy Summit

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) will host the Leadership & Advocacy Summit March 28–31 at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel. The deadline to receive the group room rate at the Renaissance is March 1, 2020, and reservations received after this date are subject to rate and space availability. Register online for the Summit by March 9, 2020, to take advantage of the early-bird registration rate.

Register today for April accreditation conference

Registration is open for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Accreditation Programs: New Content for a New Decade conference. Learn about the new Commission on Cancer (CoC) Standards for 2020, as well as best practices and common deficiencies for the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). Join us on April 22–24, 2020, at the Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL.

Three consecutive days of live programming will cover the following:

  • CoC Educational Summit—April 22
  • National Cancer Database (NCDB) Half-Day Workshop—April 23 (morning)
  • NAPBC Quality Makes a Difference—April 23 (afternoon) and April 24 (all day)

All members of the multidisciplinary care team at health care facilities that treat patients with cancer are invited to attend, including, but not limited to:

  • Cancer committee members
  • Genetics professionals
  • Navigators
  • Nurses
  • Physicians (Cancer Liaison Physicians)
  • Program leadership (cancer program administrators, breast program directors, breast program leaders)
  • Registrars
  • Social workers

Please note, registration is limited to the first 200 participants. To learn more about the programs, please visit the event website.

Deadline to submit CAnswer Forum LIVE questions is April 21

Registration is now open for the next CAnswer Forum LIVE webinar from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm CST on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. In this webinar we will address the new 2020 Commission on Cancer (CoC) Standards and answer questions from cancer programs throughout the United States. Please submit your questions for this free session by 12:00 noon CST on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs is offering one continuing education credit from the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) for each of the 2020 CAnswer Forum LIVE webinars. We are also a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP17437, for 1 Contact Hours. Access to the webinar is free. If you missed previous CAnswer Forum LIVE sessions, visit our website to read about the NCRA continuing education credits and to view the recordings and download the slides.

Save the Dates — CAnswer Forum Live Upcoming Webinars

  • CAnswer Forum LIVE — June 10, 2020
  • CAnswer Forum LIVE — August 5, 2020
  • CAnswer Forum LIVE — October 14, 2020
  • CAnswer Forum LIVE — December 9, 2020

New Cancer Genetics and Risk Assessment Certification program

In recent years, genetics has become an important variable in cancer care while the ability to test individuals has greatly expanded. Beyond surgical skills, knowledge of cancer genetics is necessary to comprehensively treat our patients. Accreditation bodies such as the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) require competency in cancer genetics. The National Consortium for Breast Centers' (NCBC) new certification program in Cancer Genetics and Risk Assessment (CGRA®) is now available to document competency in this field. Clinicians beyond genetic counselors, such as physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses or other skilled professionals, must validate their skills, knowledge and abilities in cancer genetics. This new rigorous CGRA Certification Exam will be offered on April 7, 2020, in Las Vegas, NV, during the 30th Annual Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference. Examinees must be qualified to take the exam. Beyond being a licensed clinician experienced in the field of cancer care, one must have evidence of clinical training and/or educational courses in the field of cancer genetics, including breast cancer risk assessment, to qualify for the examination. Although this certification is new, it is expected that those who achieve CGRA Certification will satisfy the CoC and NAPBC requirements as providers of cancer genetics and risk assessment services. For further information, please contact NCBC's executive director, Kimberly Bolin, at or visit the CGRA website.

Cracking the code to clinical trial enrollment: How to start and who can help

Are you a surgeon interested in participating in clinical trials but are unsure how to get started? A new webinar and resource deck developed through the American College of Surgeons Clinical Research Program (ACS CRP) was designed to help guide surgeons through the administrative and regulatory requirements needed to participate in clinical trials. This webinar will detail how to obtain a Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) Identity and Access Management (IAM) ID, how to register with the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Registration and Credential Repository (RCR) and how to complete enhanced training requirements such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP). The webinar will also provide information about the NCI Biosketch, Financial Disclosure Form and Agent Shipment Form.

ACS Cancer Programs now on Facebook, Twitter

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs is now on Facebook and Twitter. Follow our new pages for the latest news and updates from all Cancer Programs, including the ACS Cancer Research Program (ACS CRP), American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), Commission on Cancer (CoC), National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC) and National Cancer Database (NCDB).

ACS Cancer Programs offers career opportunities for CTRs

The American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs has two exciting career opportunities at its home office in Chicago, IL, for Certified Tumor Registrars (CTRs) or CTR-eligible professionals with the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the National Cancer Database (NCDB).

For details, visit the American College of Surgeons website:

Interested candidates are encouraged to apply online; however, if you have questions, please contact Cindy McWilliams, Talent Manager, at 312-202-5492 or


CDC's Cancer Staging API transitions to AJCC

For the past several years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created and maintained software in the form of a dynamic link library (DLL) to help cancer registries collect data on stage of disease for cancers according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Cancer Staging System. Content from AJCC's Cancer Staging System was licensed for use in the development of this software named the Cancer Staging API . This tool is made available by the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and licensed, through the AJCC, to cancer registry software companies to incorporate into their commercial products. The ownership and maintenance of this API has transitioned to the AJCC, a program of the American College of Surgeons, which will bring future development closer to the source of content as AJCC moves forward with updates to the Cancer Staging System.

The AJCC and CDC will continue to work closely together over the transition period. As a long-time partner of the AJCC, the CDC is committed to a smooth handover process and has already begun providing documentation, training and expertise to ensure a successful transition of the API.

Going forward, the Cancer Staging API developed by the CDC will be referred to as the AJCC Cancer Surveillance API. This change is both to indicate the new ownership and distinguish this tool from the AJCC API developed for clinical care that is licensed and used by electronic health record vendors at point of care. The AJCC Cancer Surveillance API will continue to include content to support collection of Summary Stage 2018 and EOD to provide vendors with a single tool for collection of stage data. Access to the API by and for NPCR registries will not change.

Please contact the AJCC at with questions or support requests for the API.

CoC News

CLP appointment deadline is February 28

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) is an integral and required member of a CoC-accredited cancer program's cancer committee. If your accredited facility does not have a CLP in place, you are in jeopardy of being in noncompliance with CoC accreditation standards.

Please log into CoC Datalinks to verify you have an individual appointed as the CLP for your facility. If an individual has not yet been appointed as the CLP, you must do so by tomorrow, February 28, 2020.

Before selecting a CLP, it is important to review information about the duties and expectations of the role and ensure that the individual selected is willing and able to fulfill the role as defined. To appoint a CLP follow the steps provided online.

If a CLP is not appointed for your facility and recorded in CoC Datalinks, the CoC recommends that the Cancer Committee Chair be listed as the interim CLP until an official appointment is made.

CoC Paper Competition accepting submissions through June 30

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) is currently accepting submissions for the Annual Cancer Research Paper Competition , which recognizes residents and fellows-in-training for their original research. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium plus travel expenses to present the research at the CoC's Annual Meeting on October 4, 2020, during the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in Chicago, IL. The entry will be considered for publication in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The authors of the second- and third-place winning abstracts will each receive a $500 cash award. Submissions are being accepted through June 30, 2020, at


Update on NCDB reporting tools for CoC-accredited cancer programs

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) National Cancer Database (NCDB) will be updating and releasing the Cancer Program Practice Profile Report (CP3R), Hospital Comparison Benchmark Report (HCBR) and the Survival Report with cases diagnosed in 2017 in mid-March. The HCBR and Survival Report will have five years of follow-up data for diagnosis years through 2012. Before releasing the data the staff conducts multiple quality assessments to ensure that the data in the NCDB tools is accurate for use by the CoC-accredited cancer programs. Due to the multitude of changes that have been introduced these past few years, this evaluation took longer than in past years. We appreciate your patience and ongoing feedback. When the NCDB tools are released, a communication will be sent via e-mail to all CoC-accredited cancer programs.