By Kelly Simpson, Manager, Global Initiatives
Within the past few years, NCCN has held two educational MENA Congresses in the United Arab Emirates, initially in Al Ain and, most recently, last year in Abu Dhabi. These multiple-disease oncology congresses have served not only to educate participating audiences on influential data that supports recommendations in specific NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™), but also as the origins of many positive relationships that continue to burgeon.
The widely-read JNCCN — Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recently published a novel supplement, 'The Abu Dhabi Declaration: Adapted Application of NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology in the Middle East and North Africa Region”. This manuscript details discussions on clinical care for six tumor types and one on palliative care. Readers will find that management of breast, colon, hepatobiliary, non-small cell lung, and prostate cancers, as well as treatment of lymphomas and palliative care differ vastly among the 16 countries represented in the supplement, making for a particularly insightful and comprehensive account.
Such scientific collaborations are the cornerstone of NCCN's outreach to the MENA region and they were made possible, in large part, by the local support of SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company. Support was also received from Novartis Oncology, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Pfizer Inc, and Genomic Health, Inc.
Ongoing discussions will determine the logistics and clinical foci of future meetings and other collaborations. In order to better track and understand the needs of clinicians in the MENA region, NCCN has just closed an NCCN Trends™ Survey to NCCN.org registrants in the area. Oncology professionals responded from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Nearly 82 percent of the survey respondents are practicing physicians representing different cancer specialties. Notably, 78 percent claimed to frequently use NCCN Guidelines™ to direct their treatment of patients with cancer, with the majority indicating that they use them very frequently for this purpose. Treatment with drugs and biologics was the most prominent reason cited for accessing the NCCN Guidelines.
Survey respondents expressed interest in having their cancer centers participate in NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database projects, NCCN MENA clinical research collaboratives, NCCN MENA hospital executive exchanges, NCCN oncology informatics, NCCN best practices in business and operations, and NCCN MENA regional congresses.NCCN plans to continue work with its clinical colleagues in the MENA region to provide exceptional resources for education and to foster productive and collaborative professional relationships that will ultimately benefit patients with cancer in the area.