NEWS | June 19, 2018

CalCARES researchers awarded at national conference


Three informatics staff from the UC Davis California Cancer Reporting and Epidemiological Surveillance (CalCARES) program received awards for their research and work at the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries annual conference held in Pittsburgh, PA last week.

Yi Chen, Fran Maguire Cheryl MoodyThe CalCARES program manages the day-to-day operations of the California Cancer Registry (CCR) for the California Department of Public Health. The registry is one of the largest population-based cancer registries in the world and one of several programs operated by the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement.

Yi Chen received a first place award in the “research and data use” category for his poster titled “Stage at diagnosis by health insurance status among adolescent and young adult cancer patients in California.” The study found that adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients enrolled in Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) at the time of their cancer diagnosis or discontinuously enrolled in Medi-Cal were more likely to be diagnosed with late stage disease than patients with continuous Medi-Cal enrollment or those with other insurance types. The study is especially timely as AYAs are one of the least likely to be insured population subgroups and have seen less improvement in cancer survival over time than other groups. Chen’s UC Davis study colleagues include Frances B. Maguire, Cyllene R. Morris, Arti Parikh-Patel, Kenneth W. Kizer and Theresa H. M. Keegan.

Fran Maguire won a third place student award for her oral presentation “Disparities in systemic therapy use in advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by source of health insurance.” Her study found substantial disparities in the use of systemic therapies for treatment of NSCLC by health insurance type and socioeconomic status. Patients of low socioeconomic status and those with Medi-Cal or other public insurance, military insurance and the uninsured were significantly less likely to receive systemic therapy compared to those who were privately insured. The study identifies important treatment disparities which merit further investigation and represents a novel use of cancer registry data. Her study colleagues included Cyllene R. Morris, Arti Parikh-Patel, Rosemary D. Cress, Theresa H. M. Keegan, Chin-Shang Li, Patrick Lin and Kenneth W. Kizer.

Chen’s and Maguire’s work add to the growing portfolio of work CalCARES has published in the last three years related to disparities in the treatment and quality of care according to health insurance status.

Cheryl Moody received a first place award in the “registry operations” category for her poster “Natural Language Processing (NLP) - California’s Experience,” which highlights California’s efforts to develop and implement an automated solution to enable screening and classification of cancer pathology reports in near real-time. The work is particularly relevant given recently enacted legislation (AB 2325) that requires all pathologists to electronically transmit pathology reports directly to the CCR effective January 1, 2019. Automated classification of pathology reports will enable the CCR to characterize cancer incidence in near real-time, and will make cancer data available much sooner for a variety of purposes, including identification of patients for clinical trials and patient contact studies. Her study colleagues included Mary K. Brant and Marilyn Scocozza.

CalCARES staff also presented to the NAACCR conference original research at the conference on cervical cancer and emergency department use in California and survival among Native American adolescent and young adult cancer patients in California.