December 2019
    Vol 8 Issue 3
From the Editor  
Happy Holidays! This is usually a time that can be a bit crazy trying to get one more thing done before the end of the year and having a multitude of competing priorities (family, friends, work). We also tend to reflect on all that has happened in the past twelve months. With this in mind,  I came across a thought that I felt was worth repeating: "Focus on what's going right". Too often we tend to get overwhelmed with all that is wrong - wherever that shows up - at work, at home, in our community, in the world. As we look back on this past year, let's remember the good things and the times we got things right, such as the California Cancer Registry (CCR) and California Cancer Registrars Association (CCRA) sponsored educational meetings which were held in six locations throughout the state. You will be pleased to know that the CCR  is again working with Denise Harrison to provide more training next year and  has agreed to sponsor 7 sites around the state. Yes, w e have had a challenging time with all the 2018 Data Changes, but you know what? We are surviving through it together! 

In this issue, we bring you an update on the Research Unit as we say good-bye to one member and say hello to several new ones! Please see the article by Dr. Rosemary Cress to meet our newest researcher and member of CRGC.

Winny Roshala, Director of Data Quality Control and Reporting Facility Compliance Officer for CRGC, brings us a reminder about the timeliness requirement suspension and the importance of reviewing your casefinding procedures to ensure that your case ascertainment is actually complete. 

And finally, we would like to remind you that you can make a difference by helping to test new data items. Check out the details in the very last article. 
We wish all of you a warm and happy holiday season!

Introducing new members of the CRGC Research Unit
Rosemary D. Cress, DrPH, Research Program Director, CRGC
We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Anshu Shrestha to the CRGC Research Unit. Anshu joined PHI in October as a Senior Cancer Epidemiologist and has already become an invaluable member of our unit. She has a background in epidemiologic research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and at UCLA that included experience and publications in cancer epidemiology, including evaluating the association between air toxics and pediatric cancers as well as cancer-related treatment outcomes/comparative effectiveness. Most recently Anshu worked with a health economics and outcomes consulting firm in Los Angeles. Anshu is assisting Dr. Cress with management of the RESPOND prostate cancer study, analyzing CRGC data for a paper on Myelodysplastic Syndrome, and exploring opportunities for new funded research.
Mr. Eric Stewart joined the Research Unit in July of 2018. Eric's prior experience working with the Data Collection Unit gives him an excellent understanding of how the data are collected. He is completing his MPH at UC Berkeley with a focus on epidemiology. Eric has recently been promoted and will assume the position of CRGC Regional Epidemiologist. In this role, he conducts analysis of CRGC data and responds to data requests and to calls from the public with questions or cancer concerns. Eric also keeps us organized on studies such as the RESPOND and SEER Virtual Tissue Repository (VTR) studies.
We also recently welcomed Ms. Raley Do, also a former member of the CRGC Data Collection Unit, as the new CRGC Research Quality Control Specialist. Raley will be responsible for medical record data collection for projects such as the SEER Patterns of Care and SEER VTR studies. She is also assisting the CRGC Data Quality Unit with several projects. We are so pleased to have someone with Raley's enthusiasm for research and deep knowledge of medical records abstraction.
Unfortunately, our beloved Dr. Amy Klapheke is leaving PHI. During her more than three years with the CRGC Research Unit, Amy served as CRGC Regional Epidemiologist and led development of manuscripts on bladder cancer treatment disparities and gastric cancer survival variation by race/ethnicity. She also completed her doctoral dissertation, analyzing SEER-MHOS data to evaluate quality of life for women after a diagnosis of gynecologic cancer. She is now living in Indianapolis with her husband.
The research unit is currently extremely busy working on the RESPOND prostate cancer study (described in a previous issue of CHATS). We are working on two projects with the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center to examine environmental risk factors for cancer, as well as with clinical researchers from the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and other academic cancer centers to evaluate disparities in cancer treatment and survival. None of these research studies could be conducted without the high-quality data collection and quality control conducted by staff across CRGC.
Data Quality Corner
Winny Roshala, BA, CTR
Data Quality Control and Reporting Facility Compliance Officer 

Timeliness Requirement Suspension

Reminder: The California Cancer Registry (CCR) extended suspension of the Timeliness requirment for cases diagnosed 2018 and forward to December 31, 2019. This is the final suspension of the timeliness requirement. The Timeliness requirement will be reinstated beginning on January 1, 2020. See CCR Data Alert 2019-22 at the following link:

As a reminder, cases diagnosed prior to 2018 are still currently subject to the CCR Timeliness requirements.

Casefinding Completeness

One of the data quality measures that is required by the CCR as well as the SEER Program and the National Program of Cancer Registries is case completeness. As part of the CRGC data quality plan, casefinding audits are performed at selected reporting facilities throughout the CRGC catchment area. The Medical Record Disease Indices (MRDI) is requested for the ICD-10-CM cancer casefinding codes for an entire year. The cases from the MRDI are matched to the cases in the central database reported from the reporting facility. The cases that are not matched are sent back to the reporting facility for further reportability assessment. From July 1, 2019 to November 26, 2019, CRGC conducted a total of 9 casefinding audits, which identified 498 missed cases so far, with one reporting facility still in progress.

The end of the calendar year may be a good time to review your current casefinding practices to ensure you are performing comprehensive and complete case ascertainment. Please review the following casefinding resources:
  • Volume I, Section 1.1.5 Casefinding (and all sub-sections)
  • Click here for Volume I link 
  • Volume I, Appendix G - Codes for Casefinding 
  • Click here
Every cancer case counts, so please evaluate your casefinding procedures annually to ensure complete and comprehensive case ascertainment.
Help Test New Data Items

The Mid-Level Tactical Group (MLTG), which includes representatives from CoC, NAACCR, NCRA, NPCR,and SEER, now requires that field testing be done for proposed new data items, or major changes, before implementation in the registry field. This process will help standard setters evaluate the feasibility of collecting new data items and clarify codes and coding instructions before implementation. The MLTG strongly encourages participation in this effort, which will facilitate better communication with the registrars in the field and provide critical information to the groups working on these data items.
There are 12 new SSDIs being proposed for implementation in 2021. The field testing will provide information for clarification of codes and coding instructions; needed revisions and/or modifications; how often the information is available; and feasibility of implementing the new SSDIs.
Although the field testing started November 1, 2019 it continues through 9 pm Pacific December 15, 2019. Participants must have access to the SEER reliability studies site during this period. ( CEU's have been requested for this 2021 Data Item testing.
Cancer Registrar Feedback
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for Chats contact Mignon Dryden at
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