New Treatment Guidelines for Cancer Patients

The National Comprehensive Care Network (NCCN) launched a new series of NCCN Guidelines for Patients at its NCCN Patient Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2010. The guidelines are a layperson-friendly summary of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, which guide practitioners in treating cancer.

The guidelines are considered a standard of oncology care by practitioners all around the world, according to William T. McGivney, Ph.D., CEO of NCCN. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients provide information to patients regarding current treatment options in language they can understand. The guidelines will be particularly useful for families caring for aging parents who are trying to navigate geriatric care issues wTreatment Decisionshile still tending to the day-to-day needs of their own families.

The guidelines are created by a multidisciplinary panel of experts from participating NCCN member organizations. The first two guidelines that have been released cover lung cancer and breast cancer. They address every possible treatment option from the diagnostic stage through end-stage disease, and are disease-specific. For example, guidelines are not only different for lung cancer and breast cancer, but breast cancer is addressed according to specific sub-type and the stage of the disease.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients are presented in the format of a decision tree, which guides patients step-by-step through the decision-making process at each and every step and enables patients and families to discuss treatment options with physicians. In late 2010 or early 2011, guidelines for melanoma, non-Hodgkins lymphomas, and colon and prostate cancers will be available. Eventually, the NCCN plans to release guidelines for every major adult cancer site.

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