National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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New NCCN Patient Guidelines Help Patients Navigate the Maze of Breast Cancer Treatment Options


Redesigned to be more user-friendly, an updated version of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer is now available free of charge on NCCN.com. Information on fertility preservation, birth control, and preventing skeletal-related events are among the clinical updates in the new guidelines. The resource enables patients and their caretakers to take an active role in making treatment decisions.


FORT WASHINGTON, PA — Significant advances in breast cancer treatment have brought encouragement to women with the disease, enabling them to live longer and without disease progression. Although the plethora of treatment options available provides clinical benefit to patients, it can also lead to them feeling overwhelmed and confused. To help patients with breast cancer understand their options and arrive at the best treatment plan, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has developed a newly designed version of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer (V.1.2011) that includes important information on treatment recommendations and is presented in a straightforward, patient-friendly format. The updated resource is available free of charge on NCCN.com.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ are translations of the professional NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™), which physicians around the globe use when determining appropriate cancer treatment. Although breast cancer is a complex disease, the new layout of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ presents the same information that physicians use when making treatment decisions in an easy-to-understand format for patients.

New features of the redesigned NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ include:

  • Simplified sections of the algorithms or “decision trees” used in the professional guidelines integrated into a step-by-step treatment guide
  • A bulleted summary of main points after each section highlighting key subject matter
  • Tools such as a personal treatment record and specific questions to ask clinicians regarding tests, treatment, and clinical trials
  • Color diagrams illustrating the anatomy of the breast, tests, and possible procedures used in the treatment of breast cancer
  • Definitions of clinical terms posted in the sidebar of corresponding pages of text
  • Dedicated space for note-taking when discussing options with clinicians.

Important clinical updates are also reflected in the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer including new sections on fertility and birth control for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. For patients with breast cancer whose disease has metastasized to their bones, a new treatment option has been incorporated into the guidelines to help prevent skeletal-related events, such as fractures and bone pain – issues that significantly decrease the quality of life of a patient with cancer. In addition, chemotherapy treatment options have been updated.

Through the support of the NCCN Foundation, NCCN offers a library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ including those on Non-Small Cell Lung, Ovarian and Prostate Cancers, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Melanoma, Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, and Multiple Myeloma. All of these guidelines are available free of charge at NCCN.com, which also features informative articles for patients and caregivers.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 25 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.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center
    Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center / Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital