Research studies during the 1990s revealed a significant amount of variation in the content of cancer-related pathology reports.Although the reports contained similar information, they could not be used toaccurately compare cases, treatment options, or clinical outcomes. Variability was mainly due to dictated free-text that contained transcription errors, insufficient and sometimes omitted clinical data. In response to these findings, the CAP Cancer Committee developed tumor site specific checklists for pathologists to use as a common framework for cancer reporting.
The synoptic section of the report uses standardized content and definitions in a coherent, clinically relevant and consistent way. This format allows the pathologist’s findings to be efficiently and effectively used in patient diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. The use of standardized reporting has applicability in all areas of medicine to improve patient clinical documentation and to aggregate data across different platforms.Sharing standardized cancer information will help to win the war on cancer by providing comparable tumor data and treatment outcomes that can be used to support initiatives in cancer research and in public health.
What are the Cancer Checklists? The CAP Cancer Checklists are a set of standardized, evidence-based, “scientifically validated” protocols for the 60 most commonly reported forms of cancer.Checklists are developed by the CAP Cancer Committee, a team of pathology experts and liaisons from other highly recognized cancer organizations. The checklists consist of data elements structured as a set of questions and prospective answers with reference information regarding the intended use and meaning of checklist elements. The cancer checklists are available in doc and pdf file versions on the CAP Web site at www.cap.org, and in an electronic format consistent with existing international standards for incorporation into existing information systems. The CAP cancer checklists form a library of best practices in pathology reporting for cancer specimen data.