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.