↓ Skip to main content

Shifting cancer care towards Multidisciplinarity: the cancer center certification program of the German cancer society

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Cancer, December 2017
Altmetric Badge


67 Dimensions

Readers on

65 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Shifting cancer care towards Multidisciplinarity: the cancer center certification program of the German cancer society
Published in
BMC Cancer, December 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12885-017-3824-1
Pubmed ID

Christoph Kowalski, Ullrich Graeven, Christof von Kalle, Hauke Lang, Matthias W. Beckmann, Jens-Uwe Blohmer, Martin Burchardt, Michael Ehrenfeld, Jan Fichtner, Stephan Grabbe, Hans Hoffmann, Heinrich Iro, Stefan Post, Anton Scharl, Uwe Schlegel, Thomas Seufferlein, Walter Stummer, Dieter Ukena, Julia Ferencz, Simone Wesselmann


Over the last decades numerous initiatives have been set up that aim at translating the best available medical knowledge and treatment into clinical practice. The inherent complexity of the programs and discrepancies in the terminology used make it difficult to appreciate each of them distinctly and compare their specific strengths and weaknesses. To allow comparison and stimulate dialogue between different programs, we in this paper provide an overview of the German Cancer Society certification program for multidisciplinary cancer centers that was established in 2003. In the early 2000s the German Cancer Society assessed the available information on quality of cancer care in Germany and concluded that there was a definite need for a comprehensive, transparent and evidence-based system of quality assessment and control. This prompted the development and implementation of a voluntary cancer center certification program that was promoted by scientific societies, health-care providers, and patient advocacy groups and based on guidelines of the highest quality level (S3). The certification system structures the entire process of care from prevention to screening and multidisciplinary treatment of cancer and places multidisciplinary teams at the heart of this program. Within each network of providers, the quality of care is documented using tumor-specific quality indicators. The system started with breast cancer centers in 2003 and colorectal cancer centers in 2006. In 2017, certification systems are established for the majority of cancers. Here we describe the rationale behind the certification program, its history, the development of the certification requirements, the process of data collection, and the certification process as an example for the successful implementation of a voluntary but powerful system to ensure and improve quality of cancer care. Since 2003, over 1 million patients had their primary tumors treated in a certified center. There are now over 1200 sites for different tumor entities in four countries that have been certified in accordance with the program and transparently report their results from multidisciplinary treatment for a substantial proportion of cancers. This led to a fundamental change in the structure of cancer care in Germany and neighboring countries within one decade.

Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 65 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 65 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 9 14%
Student > Master 7 11%
Other 5 8%
Student > Ph. D. Student 5 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 3 5%
Other 14 22%
Unknown 22 34%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 13 20%
Nursing and Health Professions 12 18%
Social Sciences 3 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 2 3%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 2 3%
Other 4 6%
Unknown 29 45%