October 2015

    Vol 4 Issue 3

From the Editor 


Happy Fall! Even though we still have warm days, the promise of fall is in the air with cooler nights and mornings. We hope everyone enjoyed their summer in spite of the high temperatures we all seemed to have experienced.


A major focus of CRGC staff right now is getting our data ready for our SEER submission the middle of this month. Not only are we looking for every possible case, we are also ensuring the data is of the highest quality. And in the middle of September we said goodbye to Dr. Dee West, our Executive Director, as you'll read in Dr. Marta Induni's article.


In this issue Winny Roshala shares results of a special project on Prostate PSA documentation and coding that was completed by the Quality Control Unit. SEER noticed a problem with PSA results in the 2014 SEER Training Needs Assessment for TNM Study and a review was conducted to assess the situation and correct the errors.


Dr. Rosemary Cress, our Director of Research, has an interesting article about long term survival after diagnosis with ovarian cancer.


We are also including a link to an article on IBM Watson Health initiative that talks about the advancements made in medical research and the partnerships IBM has made to continue that growth.


And last, but not least, we have included a link to a recently released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Cancer Protocols from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). 


We hope you enjoy these articles as well as the change in seasons! And as always, thank you for all that you do to ensure the registry has complete, timely, and accurate cancer data!


CRGC Update
Marta Induni, PhD
Executive Director, CRGC
After nearly 5 years with the Public Health Institute, Dr. Dee West has retired! On September 15th, the Cancer Registry of Greater California bid farewell to its first Executive Director. 

Dr. West's career spanned nearly four decades with 36 years in the SEER program.  Dr. West's countless publications have contributed to an improved understanding of cancer throughout the global cancer community. Dr. West's main research focuses have been the surveillance, etiology, and survivorship of breast, prostate, and colon cancers. He has also addressed methodological issues related to diverse cancer patterns in many racial and ethnic populations. 

Certainly, he will remain active in service to professional organizations such as the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, National Coordinating Council for Cancer Surveillance, and SEER.  Dr. West came to PHI with a reputation for mentoring and strong leadership - we wish him all the best and know he will continue to contribute to the world of cancer registration.    
SEER Prostate PSA Data Quality Values and Interpretation Study
Winny Roshala, BA, CTR
Data Quality Control Director, CRGC

Background: The 2014 SEER Training Needs Assessment for TNM Study had each participant abstract and code two or four prostate tumors, resulting in 1,534 responses for PSA values that were analyzed. The results showed that 40.8% of  responses for PSA values disagreed with the preferred answer. Furthermore, 43% of those total errors were related to the implied decimal point. To ensure high quality data in SEER, all SEER registries were required to perform a review of PSA Lab Value and PSA Interpretation data elements for prostate cases diagnosed in 2012.

Patients and physicians commonly perceive ovarian cancer as a highly fatal disease. Since about 60% of patients present with advanced stage disease, the prognosis is often poor. Yet some women are known to survive for many years after diagnosis. Dr. Rosemary Cress of the Public Health Institute's Cancer Registry of Greater California, a SEER registry, collaborated with researchers  from UC Davis to compare characteristics of women who survived more than 10 years after diagnosis to those with shorter survival using patients identified through the California Cancer Registry. Patients diagnosed between 1994 and 2001, with follow up through 2011, were included. Of 11, 541 women identified, 3,582 (31%) survived over 10 years. Long-term survivors were more likely to be younger and to have early stage, non-serous, and lower grade tumors, but a substantial number of survivors were older or had other characteristics of poor prognosis. Nearly a third of long term survivors had Stage III or IV cancers.


To continue article click here

IBM Watson Health Initiative Progress

IBM's Watson Health Initiative has partnered with several hospitals and research organizations to further their work in detecting disease patterns, triggers and more. Work at Columbia University Medical Center's Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology and Systems Biology will collaborate to test using IBM Watson to help oncologists translate DNA insights into personalized options for patients. Columbia will be the 16th cancer center to use Watson Genomic Analytics to bring medicine to patients worldwide.

College of American Pathologist's FAQ Now Available

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) Cancer Protocols have been a resource and reference for complete reporting of malignant tumors since they were developed in 1986. The number of protocols continues to increase over the years and in 2007 they were integrated into the pathologist AP-LIS workflow with the release of the CAP electronic Cancer Checklists (eCC).

A document of Cancer Protocol Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is now available. This document will be useful for facilities with questions about the CAP Cancer Protocols. These include such topics such as:

What is a Cancer Protocol?

Are Cancer Protocols required for accreditation purposes?

When should a Cancer Protocol be used?

Is use of the Cancer Biomarker Reporting Templates required by accreditation?

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
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Sacramento, California 95825