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The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted the cancer treatment program at Lake Health a three-year accreditation with commendation.

In order for a facility to earn a three-year accreditation with commendation, a physician surveyor must perform an on-site evaluation of the center during which the center shows a commendable degree of compliance with one or multiple standards that is representative of the complete scope of the cancer program (leadership of a cancer treatment committee, management of cancer data, research, clinical services, quality improvement, and outreach to the community). Also, for all the other standards a center must receive at least a compliance rating.

Started in the early 1920s by the ACoS, the CoC is a group of professional organizations committed to increasing the rate of survival and quality of life for patients with cancer through setting standards, research, education, prevention, and the oversight of comprehensive quality care. Included in the group are the Fellows of the ACoS and 42 national organizations that represent the entire spectrum of cancer treatment.

Among the central activities of the CoC are establishing standards for quality, multidisciplinary care of patients with cancer; examining centers to determine their level of compliance with the each of the 36 different standards set by the CoC; obtaining quality and standardized data from facilities with accreditation; and making use of the data obtained to create effective educational interventions to help improve the outcomes of cancer care on national, state and local levels.

Today, there are over 1,400 cancer programs accredited by the CoC in the US and Puerto Rico. This number represents about 25 percent of the US and Puerto Rico’s hospitals. These CoC-accredited hospitals diagnose and/or treat about 71% of patients who are diagnosed with cancer each year. Also, over 1,600 physicians volunteer as cancer liaisons providing support and leadership for the Accreditation Program for the CoC and other CoC activities that are at these facilities.

The accreditation program is a part of the CoC and it establishes quality-of-care standards for the cancer programs and also reviews programs in order to make sure they are in compliance with those standards. In order to earn CoC accreditation, facilities must show voluntary commitment to offering the highest quality in cancer care and must go through a thorough evaluation process and review of the center’s performance. In order to retain accreditation, a cancer center with CoC accreditation must undergo an on-site review every three years.

Receiving care through a CoC-accredited program helps patients and families make sure that they will have access to:

  • Comprehensive care, with state-of-the-art equipment and services
  • A multi-disciplinary approach to provide the best options in cancer treatment
  • Up-to-date news of ongoing clinical trials as well as the newest options in treatment
  • Access to information, education and patient support related to cancer
  • Access to a registry of cancer that provides data on the stage and type of cancers, results of treatments, and lifelong follow-up with patients
  • Ongoing monitoring and enhancement of care

Data on patients with cancer is reported by each program accredited by the CoC to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) of the CoC, a joint program of the CoC and the American Cancer Society (ACS). Currently, the NCDB has information on the demographics of patients, the characteristics of tumors, and information on treatments and outcomes from over 18 million patients diagnosed with cancer and treated by hospitals with cancer programs in the US between the years 1985 and 2004. About two-thirds of recently diagnosed cases of cancer each year in the US are included in this database.

Data from the NCDB is used on a regular basis to review and increase the quality of care patients receive in programs accredited by the CoC. The implementation of quality improvement initiatives is required by the CoC to promote patients receiving quality, multidisciplinary cancer care. These initiatives also lead to ongoing education by local providers.

By way of an exclusive partnership between the ACS and the CoC, information on services, resources, and cancer treatment is provided to the public for each cancer program that is CoC-accredited. This information is provided on the ACS website at www.cancer.org as well as via the ACS’s National Cancer Information Center at (800) ACS-2345.

For further information on the Commission on Cancer, please go to www.FACS.org