NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer
Part 1: About these guidelines
1.4 How to use this booklet
The NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer are
designed to help you better understand cancer treatment.
These guidelines address all the stages of breast cancer,
so not all of the information will apply to you. In addition,
although the guidelines recommendations apply to most
patients, they depend on the general health and situation
of each patient.
The guidelines include several important parts:
• You will find information to help you understand what
breast cancer is and what tests and treatments are
available in Parts 2 through Part 6.
• Tables and figures are included throughout the
guidelines to either simplify information or to provide
you with more information.
• A treatment guide is included in Part 7. It shows the
step-by-step course of action from diagnosis through
all the phases of treatment. This information is
presented in charts and is explained further in the text.
• Definitions of words or phrases that you may not know
are provided throughout the text and in Part 8.
• There are pages in Part 9 to help you talk with your
doctor and track your medical care.
This booklet can help you and your doctors decide
which choices best meet your medical and personal
needs. Making decisions about treatment is important
for your long-term health and the quality of your life
since there are risks and benefits to every choice.
Getting enough information to make an informed
decision is an important first task.
To give you the information you need, these guidelines
cover most aspects of cancer care. Many medical terms
are included that describe cancer, tests, and treatment.
These are terms that you will likely hear your treatment
team use in the months and years ahead. Most of the
information may be new to you, and it may be a lot to
learn. Don’t be discouraged as you read. Keep reading
and review the information. There is a Dictionary in Part
8 that may help. With time, you’ll become more familiar
with the medical information in these guidelines.
Reading the guidelines in order from the beginning
to the end may be the most helpful if you do not
know much about breast cancer. The first half of
the guidelines provides more basic information that
will make it easier to understand the more detailed
treatment guide. As you read through these guidelines,
you may find it helpful to learn about general issues in
order to create a list of questions to ask your doctor.
A suggested list of questions is in Part 9, but you may
think of more questions to ask.