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March 2014

    Vol 3 Issue 1

From the Editor 



California may be experiencing its worst drought in recorded history, but there is no lack of activities for the CRGC! We began the New Year with a plethora of activities to prepare cases for the preliminary data submission of 2012 cases to SEER towards the end of February. A final 2012 data submission will take place in November. In February, the CRGC was involved in two events involving SEER. The SEER Quality Improvement Exchange is an activity where SEER registries showcase their data quality improvement program. This comprehensive CRGC presentation was spearheaded by Winny Roshala, BA, CTR, Data Quality Control Director, and included presentations by Glen Halvorson, Scott Riddle, and myself. For all those involved, it was an honor to shine the light on all the elements required to produce high quality CRGC data. Also in February, the CRGC hosted a site visit by SEER of the three California SEER registries (USC Cancer Surveillance Program, California Prevention Institute of Cancer, and the Cancer Registry of Greater California). Also present were representatives of the California central registry and representatives of the California Department of Public Health.


In this issue, there are two different articles about breast cancer. Paul Mills, Ph.D., M.P.H., writes about how a phone call, which leads him to evaluate breast cancer trends in young women in the article "Rates of Distant Stage Breast Cancer in Young Women Increasing". In "A Must Watch Movie: 'Living Proof,' ", Taina Valone, RHIA, CTR, shares her review of a compelling story about Dr. Dennis Slamon's efforts to get the drug Herceptin approved and available for breast cancer patients.


April 7-11 is National Cancer Registrars Week. This year's theme is Cancer Registrars: Steadfast In An Evolving Environment. As cancer registrars, our commitment to quality data and quality cancer programs is priority one no matter how challenging the changes!



Rates of Distant Stage Breast Cancer in Young Women Increasing

Paul K. Mills, Ph. D., M.P.H., Epidemiologist, Cancer Registry of Central California   


A month or so ago a local TV news anchor who is active in the breast cancer survivor circuit here in the San Joaquin Valley called me to inquire about the "alarming increase in breast cancer in young women". She was doing a piece on a young woman she had recently interviewed who was diagnosed while still in her early 30's. I responded that I was not aware of a dramatic increase in breast cancer incidence in young women but I would check the California Cancer Registry (CCR) data for recent trends. 


Click here to continue this article.

A Must Watch Movie: "Living Proof"  Movie Review 

Taina Valone, RHIA, CTR, Cancer Registry of Greater California


How often do you get to watch a movie that brings to life an aspect of the cancer registrar's work in a way that is touching, well-acted and entertaining?  "Living Proof" is this kind of movie. What could have been a schmaltzy Lifetime Television disease-of-the-month movie is instead an inspirational true story of the dedication of one doctor and the lives he has touched.  


 Click here to continue this article.

Passings -  Donald Morton, M.D.

Donald Morton died at the age of 79; renowned cancer surgeon and researcher.

He developed the sentinel lymph node evaluation procedure, that saves the U.S. healthcare system more than $3.8 billion per year in the treatment of melanoma and breast cancer, as well as preventing countless unnecessary surgeries.
New CRGC CTR's! 
The CRGC congratulates the following individuals that successfully passed the fall 2013 CTR exam.  Well done!


Gaylen Maria Crooks, La Jolla

Ellie R. Fox-Holley, Chico

Victoria A. Guardado, Anaheim

Kalayaan Habal-Nagtalon, Sacramento

Karen Koehn, Redlands

Sherry Little, Fullerton

Debra C. Norde, Chula Vista

Natalie Santi, Santa Barbara 



"A one day or even a one week celebration is not nearly enough to recognize and express appreciation for what cancer registers do the other 52 weeks. But it  is not only the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of this very demanding work that is appreciated but it is the reason you do it that really matters.  Each "case" is a person with goals and aspiration like all of us, whose life has been threatened by cancer and what we learn from their experiences helps current and future generations live longer and less painful lives. Thanks for your dedication in helping us accurately learn from the volumes of data you work with every day. Every day should be registrars day. "


Dee West, Ph.D., CRGC Executive Director and Principal Investigator



"Next year marks 20 years that I have been using cancer registry data for research.  None of this could have been achieved without the high quality work done by all of our cancer registrars.  I also would like to thank those CRGC registrars who are unfailingly helpful when I have a question about how the data are collected and coded."


Rosemary Cress, Dr. PH, CRGC - Co Principal Investigator



"The amount of work in cancer registration is difficult to fathom - Cancer registrars are the experts in collecting, organizing, and documenting data for every cancer patient. They gather data from many sources to include information about diagnosis, treatment, survival for each individual.  Their dedication and commitment to quality data are critical to the advances  in research, care, treatment, and survivorship of current and future generations.  I am inspired by their energy and knowledge and am delighted to recognize the efforts of all cancer registrars."


Marta Induni, PhD, CRGC Senior Director of Operations



"The Cancer Registry of Greater California's Data Quality Control Unit honors and give thanks to the registrars of CRGC for their continued commitment, dedication and perseverance in providing data of the highest quality!   You truly are 'steadfast in an evolving environment'.


Congratulations in recognition and celebration of National Cancer Registrars Week with our sincere thanks!"


Winny Roshala, BA, CTR, Data Quality Control Director


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