April 2015

    Vol 4 Issue 1

From the Editor 


Happy National Cancer Registrars Week! This year's theme: Cancer Registrars: The Lighthouse in a Storm of Change could not be more appropriate. We all know that the only thing constant in our lives is change. The registry world is constantly changing - from new diagnostic tests and treatment protocols, to new data items and new rules. Fortunately, registrars are known for their resiliency and are able to adapt. The Cancer Registry of Greater California extends our appreciation to all of our registrars for their continuing efforts to submit timely, accurate and complete cancer data. We wouldn't be able to do what we do without YOU!


In this issue Dr. Dee West acknowledges the contributions of two of our epidemiologists, Dr. Paul Mills and Dr. Elena Martinez, and talks about the restructuring of the surveillance unit. 


Also in this issue is an article by Scott Riddle about our new Secure Network, Go Anywhere. In his article, Scott describes the new method of sending in your transmit files as well as accessing reports for your facility.


CRGC is planning a "virtual celebration" as we've done in the past to honor and thank you for all of your hard work as cancer registrars. An email announcement regarding the details will be sent to you soon.





Changes in the CRGC Regional Surveillance Program

Dee West, PhD

Executive Director/Principle Investigator of CRGC



The main purpose of establishing the California Cancer Registry (CCR) in 1987 was to monitor cancer incidence, mortality, and survival among residents of California. Trends by tumor type, age, race/ethnicity, geography and other categories are part of the surveillance program that was created as part of the State law creating the CCR. Initially there were 10 Regions designated in the State for data collection and surveillance but only Regions 1/8, 9 and 7/10 had epidemiologists for surveillance work. In 1995, funds were awarded by the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) to hire and place an epidemiologist in each of the other regions (2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) to work with the local communities regarding cancer concerns and to publish information regarding the burden of disease in their regions. These five regions, along with region 7/10, became the Cancer Registry of Greater California (CRGC) funded by the National Cancer Institute's SEER Program in 2000.

Over time, many registry functions were centralized in Sacramento to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. With our current flat budget from the State for five-years and with the SEER program only supporting a 2% increase per year, over the last few months we have had to again centralize many activities. This had implications for our operations as well as our surveillance programs. Starting in May, Danielle Ewing in Sacramento, will be the epidemiologist in Regions 2, 3, and 6, and Dr. John Morgan at Loma Linda University, will be the epidemiologist in regions 4, 5, and 7/10. Dr. Paul Mills in Fresno, and Dr. Elena Martinez in San Diego will no longer be part of the CRGC team. They will be missed.




Have you ever received a followback request from the Region asking to send a case because they received a Follow Up or Correction record from you? Upon researching the case in your database, you find that it was transmitted in the past and you're left wondering why the region is asking for a case that was supposedly sent years ago. You create a retransmit, send it to the Region, and hope that's the end of the issue. But a month or two later you get another request...


Checklist for Hiring a Cancer Reporting Contractor 


CRGC has created a document to help both hospitals and Cancer Reporting contractors. The document, "Checklist for Hiring a Cancer Reporting Contractor" can be found on the CRGC Website under Registrar Gateway/CRGC Resources. The document is a minimum set of responsibilities for both parties involved and is not intended to be all inclusive. 


Click here to see the document

Redesigned Cancer Trends Progress Report


The National Cancer Institute announced the launch of the newly redesigned Cancer Trends Progress Report


From prevention to end of life, the site offers trends by sex and age, race and ethnicity, and income and education level, and displays them in relation to Healthy People 2020 targets, where they are available.


Visit the site to see cancer survivorship as it relates to physical activity and obesity; and four new environmental exposures, including arsenic, benzene, cadmium, and nitrate.


Click here to visit the site



NAACCR Explainer Video Now Available

For anyone who's ever struggled explaining exactly what we do as a cancer registrar, take a look at the new Explainer Video from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). It  provides a good overview of how a cancer registry works at all levels (local, state and national). This video will be posted to the CRGC website. You can also access it by the link below.




New CRGC Logo      

You may have noticed that the Cancer Registry of Greater California (CRGC) has a new logo. Our Senior Director of Operations, Dr. Marta Induni, read an article about cancer viruses and thought the picture of the actual cancer virus would be a great symbol of the work that we do. "I like the idea that we are all working together to kill cancer - I think it is an eye-catching and powerful image that shows our tenacity and the strength we have in our collaboration with the registry community at large." said Dr. Induni, when asked how this new logo came about. The virus, known as GLV-1h68, was modified to target and then kill cancer cells and could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Results have been successful in the lab setting and approval for a clinical trial has been given and will take place sometime soon. 


Click here to read the original article 



St Jude Medical Center, Fullerton Receives CoC Award!

St Jude Medical Center in Fullerton was the recipient of the Commission on Cancer's Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA), from cancer programs surveys performed in 2014. St Jude Medical Center was the only reporting facility recipient from CRGC. Other cancer program recipients from California include:


Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae, CA (region 1/8)

Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, Monterey, CA (region 1/8)

Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, CA (region 9)


According to the Commission on Cancer (CoC) established in 2004, the CoC's Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) is designed to recognize cancer programs that strive for excellence in demonstrating compliance with the CoC standards and are committed to ensuring high quality cancer care. 


A CoC-accredited cancer program is eligible to earn the OAA after completing the accreditation survey and receiving a Performance Report that indicates an accreditation award of "Three-Year with Commendation". Specifically, the program must receive commendation ratings for the seven commendation level standards and no deficiencies for the remaining 27 standards. 


The current list of seven commendation standards are:

  • Standards 1.9, 1.11, 1.12
  • Standards 2.1, 2.2
  • Standards 5.2, 5.6
News From Region 5
Rebecca Cassady, RHIA, CTR Regional Director, DSCSP 


Region 5 will host their Regional Registrars Educational Program on April 15, 2015 at LLUMC Wong Kerlee Conference Center. The program agenda includes Endometrial Cancer, 2015 Data Changes, Preliminary Results of the CCR Endometrial Recoding Audit, CNExT Version 1.16.0 - 2015 Data Changes, presentation on lung tumor size for Stage I Lung Adenocarcinoma and the hospital cancer registry Ghana experience. 


Researchers at Region 5 of the Cancer Registry of Greater California and Loma Linda University have developed a research manuscript titled "Socio-demographic predictors of delayed-versus early-stage cervical cancer in California." Findings presented in the manuscript reveal a significant role for low socioeconomic status as a predictor of delayed-stage cervical cancer and is co-authored by: Sepideh Saghari, MPH; Mark Ghamsary, PhD; Ariane Marie-Mitchell, MD, PhD, MPH; Keiji Oda, MPH; and the team leader, John W. Morgan, DrPH, CPH. The manuscript is slated for publication in the April 25, 2015 issue of Annals of Epidemiology.




The CRGC congratulates the following individuals that successfully passed the fall 2014 CTR exam. Well done!  

Cheryl Meruelo, Orcutt
Kylee Newman, Murrieta
Dinka Vasiljevic, Mission Viejo
Kristal Wright, Sacramento



Shout Outs to CRGC Cancer Registrars!


We don't thank cancer registrars enough for the thorough work you all do, but during National Cancer Registrar Week we are reminded how important you all are in the fight against cancer. Our data are used by the State, the NCI, and WHO to monitor trends of each type of cancer around the world. In addition the data are used to support population-based studies of risks for cancer and to support clinical trials by looking at treatment and outcomes in the population, especially among minority populations. I am currently reviewing grant applications for scientists who develop models from existing data to address emerging cancer related issues and to guide public health research and policy.  For example, what are the gains and risks related to screening and who should be screened to reduce risks and expenses and are we over treating women with in situ breast cancer or men with localized prostate cancer? Most of these models use SEER data. These are just a few examples of our data contributing to public health guidelines, in addition to surveillance and population studies. Our data are widely used for the betterment of men and women around the world.

Thank you for making these data complete and accurate for our fight against cancer. You are appreciated, and we will try to express this more often." 

 Dee West, PhD, Executive Director, CRGC


"National Cancer Registrars Week gives us all an opportunity to thank the talented and committed staff that work so diligently all year to document critical cancer data. Each registrar plays an important role in capturing key data needed to provide incidence and prevalence of the disease in the population. Moreover, no population-based cancer research would be possible without the careful technical work registrars provide. There is no doubt that meaningful improvements have been made in cancer prevention, control, and treatment because of the work you all perform.  A very heartfelt "thank you" to an incredible team of individuals who are improving the health of future generations."

 Marta Induni, PhD, Senior Director of Operations, CRGC

 "Region 5 extends their appreciation to all of the registrars for their continued diligence in submitting their reportable cases within the standards set by the California Cancer Registry. We recognize that the changes in the health care industry has presented challenges in abstracting cases and providing follow up data.   We also want to thank all the facilities for responding to our requests for special studies, audits and additional case data.  Registrars are proficient at responding to continuous change in the cancer registry profession and this year's theme of Cancer Registrars: The Lighthouse in a Storm of Change is very appropriate!     Happy 2015 NCRW!"

 Rebecca Cassady, RHIA,CTR  Regional Director DSCSP


"CRGC researchers, as well as cancer researchers across California, use the high quality data collected by the CRGC registrars to investigate disparities in cancer incidence, treatment and survival. This work absolutely could not happen without the excellent work of all of our registrars.  Thank you!"

 Rosemary Cress, DrPH, Research Director, CRGC


 "During NCRW we acknowledge the vast body of knowledge, skills, and abilities of cancer registrars who provide the continuous stream of quality data for the CRGC."

 Katheryne Vance, CTR  Compliance Officer, CRGC


"Cancer Registrars are a group of specialized professionals who, with great patience, tenacity, and skill retrieve, report, and analyze cancer data while striving to produce the best data possible.  Few professions have such talented and specialized people. This week is a week set aside to honor your long days, hard work, and passionate disposition.  Your commitment to quality is observed by researchers around the world and you all should be very proud of your contributions.  This year's theme is especially appropriate as we are certainly navigating a huge storm of change and those in the middle of the change are those dedicated individuals who strive to give their best.  Registrars are most certainly the lighthouse in a storm of change!  


I want to thank each and every one of you for the work you do.  It may not be glamorous, but it is certainly important and critical work that many people around the world depend on, whether they know it or not.  Take this time to celebrate, and know that you are appreciated!  Thank you for all that you do!!!  Happy National Cancer Registrars Week!!"

 Kyle L. Ziegler, CTR   CRGC Director of Data Management and  Informatics


"Cancer registrars are unique and special, as they have chosen a profession unlike any other. Registrars have the unique analytic skill set to identify and record the granular details of a cancer patient's diagnostic and treatment journey, but they also see the big picture of cancer trends, treatment patterns, survival rates and survivorship.  Cancer registrars recognize that  every case is a person.  The ability to accurately record a cancer patient's initial  journey is an important responsibility taken on only by the most skilled and caring individuals, known as cancer registrars!


Thank you so much for your continued diligence, and undaunting relentless pursuit of excellence in cancer reporting.  Your commitment to producing high quality data for research advances our efforts every day to unraveling the mysteries of cancer. Registrars truly are the Lighthouse in a storm of Change. We thank you and we honor you!  Congratulations on celebrating  National Cancer Registrars Week!"

 Winny Roshala, BA, CTR Data Quality Control Director, CRGC


All of us at CRGC wish each of you a very Happy National Cancer Registrars Week! Thank you for all of the hard work you do! 

 Mignon Dryden, CTR, E-Reporting and Education/Training  Coordinator, CRGC

Cancer Registrar Feedback
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for Chats contact Mignon Dryden at .
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Cancer Registry of Greater California
Public Health Institute
1825 Bell Street, Suite 102
Sacramento, California 95825