American College of Surgeons Appoints Dr. James Spellman Cancer Liaison
James Spellman, M.D., a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist on active staff at Beebe Medical Center, recently received a three-year appointment as Cancer Liaison Physician between Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center and the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The Cancer Liaison Program is an integral part of the Commission. Dr. Spellman is among a national network of over 1,600 volunteer Cancer Liaison Physicians who provide leadership and support to the Commission’s Cancer Approvals Program and other related activities at their local facilities.
Dr. Spellman, who has a significant interest in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with malignant diseases, provides leadership and direction as a member of the cancer committee at Beebe Medical Center in order to maintain the Tunnell Cancer Center’s Commission-approved cancer program.
The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to reducing the morbidity and mortality of cancer through education, standard-setting, and monitoring the quality of cancer care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 39 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.
The Commission’s core functions include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care and cancer data collection at over 1,400 approved facilities, surveying those facilities to evaluate compliance with the standards, and using the data to develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at national, state and local levels. Twenty-two percent of the hospitals in the United States have cancer programs approved by the Commission and 80 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients are treated in these institutions.
As the Cancer Liaison Physician, Dr. Spellman is also a Community Outreach Coordinator and is responsible for fostering and communicating Commission activities at Beebe Medical Center, including utilizing National Cancer Database (NCDB) data to study patterns of care and identify quality improvement initiatives. The NCDB contains patient demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment, and outcomes information for over 15 million malignant cancers diagnosed and treated at hospital cancer programs in the United States between 1985 and 2002. These data account for approximately two thirds of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States each year.
In an effort to assist the more than 1.3 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, Cancer Liaison Physicians at Commission-approved programs facilitate participation in the Commission’s Facility Information Profile System (FIPS). FIPS is a data-sharing project between the Commission on Cancer and the American Cancer Society, which provides the public with information on facilities’ resources, services and cancer experience. These data are shared with the public through the American Cancer Society National Call Center, 1-800-ACS-2345, and at www.cancer.org .
For more information on the Cancer Liaison Program and the Commission on Cancer, please contact the Commission on Cancer at the American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL, 312-202-5085.