NCRA’s 2020 Virtual Educational Conference Recap


Marketing Manager

2020 Vision

Innovation/Education/Improving Cancer Data

. . .

Keeping in pace with a very different 2020 year, NCRA hosted its first virtual conference, and WOW what an excellent experience!  Kudos to the planners, speakers, volunteers, programmers, exhibitors, and everyone who made this virtual experience possible. The navigation of the site was easy and wonderful to have the days tracks and sessions just a click away. There was no moving to different rooms, just a click and you were in your next selected session with coffee in hand and ready for the presentation. The chat feature allowed for colleague connection with hellos and questions/comments. Each session was well organized with session information, speaker info, files for presentation documents, and a section for notes which could be saved and emailed to yourself. And morning yoga…what a great idea!  The thought and effort behind the scenes were evident. Throughout the virtual exhibit hall, Registry Partners raffled off 3 $100 Amazon eGift cards. Congratulations to the lucky winners: Katie H., Linda B., and Melissa M. We are looking forward to seeing what 2021 has to offer! 

Now on to a couple of clinical session highlights:

Donna Gress provided an update on the AJCC 8th edition TNM staging. She explained AJCC is shifting from AJCC editions to versions. Cervix Uteri will be the first cancer updated as a version and will be effective with cases diagnosed 1/1/2021 forward. Other disease sites are planned to be updated to Version 9 in the coming years. Donna provided a detailed clarification of determining blank vs. X assignment and different points of view on staging information between the pathologist and the surgeon/managing physician. Donna highlighted posttherapy yp staging and the future of yc staging. The CoC will begin collecting yc staging beginning 2021. The presentation walked through different case scenarios to help understand when yc staging is applicable.  

Jim Hofferkamp reviewed the new guidelines for coding the grade data items and explained recent coding clarifications. The new rule for “pathologically confirmed distant mets” was reviewed in detail which is a shift in how we were originally coding the grade pathological data item. Jim explained the new grade data items points in time are similar to time frames used for assigning AJCC TNM stage. Jim discussed the new grade post therapy clinical (yc) and grade post therapy (yp) previously known as grade post therapy. 

The Case Studies Breast, Head and Neck, and Gynecologic were a collaborative tag team between the physician speakers and CTRs. The physicians walked through case studies describing the clinical exam, work up, staging, and treatment followed by the CTR walking through coding of the primary site, grade, EOD, summary stage, and SSDIs. Peggy Adamo, BS, RHIT, CTR noted we will have fewer Breast SSDIs for “2021”. The HER2 SSDIs will no longer be required for collection. 

Dr. Jeffrey Brabham, Radiation Oncologist provided his insight on modalities of radiation therapy while touching on the STORE coding principles. Dr. Brabham walked through the required elements within a radiation prescription and where to find the prescription details. His teaching style was easy to understand and he provided helpful examples in determining HDR (high dose rate), LDR (low dose rate), and radiopharmaceutical such as Iodine 131. 

Thank you to all the speakers and to NCRA for a wonderful event!