Recap of the Minnesota Cancer Registrars Association and Wisconsin Cancer Registrars Association 2nd Annual Regional Conference

Oct. 26, 2017

Recap of the Minnesota Cancer Registrars Association and Wisconsin Cancer Registrars Association 2nd Annual Regional Conference

Bloomington, Minnesota

October 12 – 13, 2017

Submitted by Jackie Ruby, BA, CTR – The first day of the MCRA/WCRA Regional Meeting focused on changes in the 8th Edition AJCC Cancer Staging Manual for prostate, lung and breast cancer primary sites. Some highlights included using prognostic stage instead of anatomic stage, changes in clinical T category for lung, changes in pathological T category for prostate, changes in grading for prostate, and inclusion of ER/PR/HER 2 NEU and Grade in the staging of breast cancer.

Denise Harrison, BS, CTR, one of April Fritz’s colleagues, delivered the staging presentations and throughout her presentations she referenced April several times. Over the course of the conference, the attendees witnessed a commemorative spirit for April Fritz including a raffle drawing with all proceeds going to a pancreatic cancer charity in April’s honor.  

Dr. Kenneth Batts presented “Why Doesn’t the Pathologist Just Tell Me Whether it is Benign or Malignant?” where he focused on Neuroendocrine and GIST tumors and the difficulty in identifying them as malignant or benign. He gave an analogy that was very helpful where he used burglars when describing types of cancer as in the example: “Dysplasia is like a burglar on our door-step. They are not a huge threat as long as they stay outside, but we should do something to make them go away so they don’t become a bigger threat, in situ cancer or malignancy”. He went on to give further analogies to describe each type of cancer explaining that Neuroendocrine Tumors and GIST behave differently than your typical “burglar”.

Dr. Lorre Ochs, a hospice oncologist, spoke about “Understanding Hospice and Palliative Care” sharing the differences between palliative care and hospice. Hospice patients cannot be on active treatment and must have 6 months or less predicted survival, however, cancer patients can receive palliative care at any time during their cancer journey, from the time of diagnosis up to hospice care.

Jami Ward (left) and Sue Braaten (right)

Dr. Andrew Litchy presented “Integrative Therapies in the Oncologic Setting” where he pointed out that alternative medical therapies are intended to supplement conventional treatment protocols and help with symptom management. They are not intended to be stand alone “treatments” for cancer. However, due to growing controversies in the insurance industry, select patients elect for “naturopathic remedies” to treat their cancer rather than conventional treatment techniques. Sometimes, alternative therapies are less expensive than undergoing radiation, chemotherapy or surgery without insurance, while they still provide symptom management to a certain degree.

This was my favorite presentation at the conference. I think there would be a true benefit for patients if there was a greater collaboration among oncologists and naturopathic doctors to provide conventional treatment AND naturopathic techniques to assist in lifestyle change and symptom management. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for naturopathic medicine.

Registry Partners raffled two Visa gift cards and the lucky winners were Jami Ward (left) and Sue Braaten (right). Congratulations to Jami & Sue!