Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients Improves Communication with Doctors and Enhances Cancer Treatment
JENKINTOWN, PA, (January 11, 2005)— Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients offers relief for a neglected area of cancer care: the emotional turmoil caused by the diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of cancer. Distress—a mix of anxiety and depressive symptoms—may cause sleeplessness, lack of appetite, trouble concentrating and difficulty carrying on regular activities. Although some distress is normal, about a third of cancer patients experience significant distress. Only about five percent of those with cancer obtain psychological help. While distress doesn’t affect the cancer itself, it does affect how patients cope with their cancer and their ability to follow treatment recommendations.
Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients is the definitive and first-of-its-kind resource for cancer patients and their families and caregivers. The world’s leading cancer authorities at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) wrote this free 32-page booklet.
Originally developed by the NCCN for cancer specialists, these treatment guidelines have now been translated by the American Cancer Society for the general public in English and Spanish versions. They are designed to enhance patients’ lives, support patient-doctor communications and increase the success of cancer therapies by helping patients stick with their treatment plans.
One of every two men and one of every three women in the United States will have cancer. These guidelines fill a long-standing void in cancer care. “Given the busy oncology offices today, there is often not enough time for doctors to ask about distress,” said Jimmie Holland, M.D., world-renowned psychiatrist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, founder of the field of psycho-oncology and the author of The Human Side of Cancer.
Holland chaired the NCCN panel of 23 nationally recognized experts who developed these guidelines. “In my more than 25 years of practice, I have found that most cancer patients are reluctant to bother the doctor and feel it would be a sign of weakness to mention their distress,” she said. “Developed by a diverse panel of medical experts from the nation’s leading cancer centers, these guidelines make it easy for patients to assess their level of distress and take positive steps to reduce it.”
“We are very pleased to once again be collaborating with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, this time on the Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients,” said Stephen Sener, M.D., national volunteer president of the American Cancer Society and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Chicago. “By making these NCCN guidelines accessible, we are ensuring that patients and their caregivers will be on the same page when it comes to discussing the level of distress associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.”
Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients features:
Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients is the latest in a series of Treatment Guidelines for Patients published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Cancer Society. Other supportive care titles include Cancer Pain, Nausea and Vomiting, Cancer-Related Fatigue and Anemia, Fever and Neutropenia, and Advanced Cancer and Palliative Care. Cancer titles include: Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Colon and Rectal Cancers, Ovarian Cancer, Melanoma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Bladder Cancer. As with the Distress Treatment Guidelines for Patients, all Treatment Guidelines for Patients were developed by multidisciplinary panels of experts from the nation’s leading cancer centers.
Most titles are available in English and Spanish. Each guideline can be read or downloaded online or ordered at no cost on the Web at www.nccn.org or by calling toll-free 1-877-ACS-0133.
About The National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 19 of the world's leading cancer centers, is an authoritative source of information to help patients and health professionals make informed decisions about cancer care. Through the collective expertise of its member institutions, the NCCN develops, updates and disseminates a complete library of about 110 clinical practice guidelines. These guidelines are the standard for clinical policy in oncology. In addition to the guidelines, NCCN publishes the bi-monthly JNCCN (Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network) for cancer care professionals, directs the National Oncology Outcomes Project, produces the Drugs & Biologics Compendium, manages the Leukemia Resource Line for physicians and hosts a national series of educational conferences and symposia for oncology professionals. For more information about the NCCN and its member institutions, please visit www.nccn.org.
About The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the Society has 14 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll-free anytime 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 23 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.