By Kelly Simpson, Manager, Global Initiatives
In 2008, Latin America and the Caribbean faced 906,200 new cancer cases and 542,000 cancer deaths . Oncology care is highly variable across countries in the region, indicating that patients could potentially benefit significantly from the formal introduction of NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™) to providers.
NCCN has agreed to assemble an educational program for Latin America at the invitation of Grupo Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Clinicas en Oncologia (GLICO). GLICO is a recently founded organization that seeks to concentrate expertise in cancer research in the region.
In conjunction with the GLICO Annual Congress in Gramado, Brazil, NCCN will hold clinical sessions on August 25-26, 2010 for an audience of approximately 250 medical professionals. This initial outreach will assess and develop the local interest level in and need for NCCN’s unparalleled scientific resources in Latin America.
NCCN Executive Leadership will provide introductory comments, describing the work and processes of the NCCN Guidelines Panels and detailing the NCCN mission of improving care for patients with cancer. The audience will also receive a demonstration of NCCN’s clinical education programs which will illustrate the variety of platforms exercised in the dissemination and application of our decision-making tools.
Prestigious faculty from NCCN Member Institutions will present the data and decisions supporting the NCCN Guidelines™ as well as recent evidence that prompted updates to specific treatment recommendations. Rationale for the pathways of the NCCN Guidelines for Non-Small Cell Lung and Breast Cancers will be presented by Dr. David S. Ettinger of The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and Dr. John H. Ward of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, respectively.
Tumors of the lung and breast are among the five most frequently occurring cancers in Latin America and the Caribbean, collectively amounting to over 20% of newly diagnosed cases of cancer in those regions in 2008 . That year, over 36,000 deaths were attributed to breast cancer, accounting for almost 7% of all cancer mortality there . Lung cancer was responsible for 12% of the 2008 deaths from cancer in the regions, with more than 65,000 deceased .
Rates of breast cancer are increasing in conjunction with the advancement of living standards in the more-heavily industrialized Latin American countries;  the majority of those countries consume between 500-1,499 cigarettes per year per person . These risk factors for oncologic disease and other indicators portend continued prevalence in breast and lung cancers and underscore the critical need for evidence-based treatment guidelines to support Latin American clinicians in the care of their patients.
The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. As a product of our collaboration with GLICO, NCCN intends to develop adapted editions of the NCCN Guidelines for Breast and Lung Cancers in Latin America and make them locally available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Such resources will improve access to superior care for patients with cancer.