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Medical center’s cancer program receives national certification

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer has awarded its certificate of approval to Keesler Medical Center's Community Hospital Cancer Program.

According to Trudy Davis, 81st Medical Operations Squa- dron's laboratory flight, cancer patient care requires a multidisciplinary approach encompassing many medical professionals.

"The medical center's cancer committee is responsible for program leadership and represents the full scope of care," she explained. "To positively affect cancer patient care, the facility must maintain a tumor registry with credentialed staff trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of oncology data collection."

Ms. Davis, a certified tumor registrar, and Darrell Taylor manage the tumor registry.
The registry certificate was awarded "with commendation," a first for the department.

The tumor registry collects data covering 141 fields on every person who walks through the medical center's doors with a diagnosis of cancer, as well as certain benign neoplastic diseases.

"We collect the fields and report the data to the Department of Defense and Mississippi Department of Health central registries and the national cancer data base," Ms. Davis said.

The registry maintains contact with each registered patient at least annually to help motivate them to fulfill their treatment and maintain medical supervision.

The Keesler registry undergoes a survey every three years. This certificate recognizes the last survey, conducted in August 2005.

"The reason we just received the certificate is they needed a bit more information following their visit," Ms. Davis said. "Unfortunately, due to (Hurricane) Katrina, we had trouble contacting one another."

To maintain accreditation, the tumor registry ensures that the medical center complies with 36 standards covering diagnosis, treatment, support services to patients, inpatient care, community outreach and surgery. In addition to collecting data, the surveyors also look through the lab and interview the entire oncology staff plus the surgeons.

"One of the primary things they look for is how the entire hospital staff works together," Mr. Taylor said. "While Trudy and I are at the center of the information gathering, it's the team work of at least 13 separate areas that is responsible for our success."

Ms. Davis, who's worked in tumor registry for 12 years, and Mr. Taylor, who's worked in the field for seven years, both came to Keesler in 2004.