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Rachel Darwin, Senior Manager, Public Relations, 2676226624

NCCN Guidelines Raise Standards for Cancer Care Worldwide by Exceeding 10 Million Downloads in 2018 — Up 26% Over 2017

The NCCN Guidelines are the most frequently-updated guidelines in any medical discipline, and are proven to improve outcomes, equity, and quality-of-life for people with cancer.

More than one million users, and counting, are registered for free access to NCCN content online at

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [January 15, 2019] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) today announced that the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) were downloaded more than 10 million times in 2018; marking a 26% increase over 2017. NCCN Guidelines® provide up-to-date recommendations for health care providers on how best to treat and manage the cancers responsible for at least 97% of all cancer diagnoses. The recommendations are determined by multidisciplinary panels of cancer type-specific experts from the 28 leading academic cancer centers that comprise NCCN. NCCN Guidelines are available for anyone to download for free at or by mobile app.

“Having your cancer treated according to NCCN Guidelines is like getting a second opinion from approximately 30 of the world’s top experts on your particular cancer type,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, Chair, NCCN Board of Directors, Spencer T. and Anne W. Olin Distinguished Professor, Director of The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Bixby Professor and Chair of Surgery of the Department of Surgery, Washington University. “This remarkable, and growing number of downloads means more patients everywhere are getting the optimal treatment for their cancer, regardless of where they’re treated. The use of the guidelines also serves the important function of providing critical education for cancer health care providers”

Keeping Pace with Progress

The significant year-to-year growth for downloads reflects the rapid pace at which NCCN Guidelines are continually updated. For example, the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer were downloaded more than 600,000 and 400,000 times in 2018, respectively. During that same time period, the breast cancer guidelines underwent four separate updates while the lung cancer guidelines were updated six different times.

“The NCCN Guidelines are an essential tool in cancer care around the globe, in large part because of how frequently they are updated,” explained Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Whenever there’s important new research data or treatment approvals, the relevant NCCN panel(s) of experts will review the evidence and make their recommendations. That way people with cancer, no matter where in the world they live, can know their doctor has free access to the most current evidence- and expert consensus-based approach. NCCN Guidelines also help streamline the insurance coverage process to make sure people have appropriate and ready access to life-saving care.”

In addition to updating existing guidelines, NCCN frequently launches new guidelines, focusing on previously-unmet needs for people with cancer. In 2018, NCCN increased the total number of resources available for free download by 13%, and debuted new guidelines on the following subjects:

Global Efforts

Also in 2018, NCCN continued to expand efforts to define and advance high-quality, high-value, patient-centered cancer care globally. That includes adapting guidelines to make them more applicable in low- and middle-income countries. There are now a total of 19 NCCN Harmonized GuidelinesTM for Sub-Saharan Africa, plus seven NCCN Harmonized GuidelinesTM for the Caribbean. The topics they cover include cancer types like breast, cervical, colon, lung and prostate, plus issues like how to manage pain, nausea, and palliative care. These guidelines—which are created in collaboration with local oncologists and government officials—include additional content on how to achieve the best results possible despite limited resources, and provide a pathway for future development of cancer care systems.

“Nearly half of the more-than-one-million verified users on our website come from outside the United States,” said Dr. Carlson. “We provide everyone with access by offering our easy-to-understand treatment algorithms free-of-charge both online and by app, plus translations into nearly a dozen different languages. We also publish the NCCN Guidelines for Patients®, which put the medical recommendations into non-medical terms so people with cancer and their caregivers can better understand what their doctors know and share in important decision-making.”

Information for Patients and Caregivers

The patient information site which houses the free NCCN Guidelines for Patients also saw a dramatic increase in web traffic in 2018, with more than 10 million page views. The past year included updates to most patient guidelines, plus new booklets for:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Liver, Gallbladder, and Bile Duct (Hepatobiliary) Cancers
  • Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors
  • Oral Cancers

Looking Ahead

In the year ahead, NCCN plans to continue on this trajectory for improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so patients can live better lives. Up next in 2019: new NCCN Guidelines for Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Pediatric Burkitt’s Lymphoma, Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma, and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

For more on the biggest updates to the care landscape from the past year, plus a preview of what’s to come, join NCCN on March 21-23 for the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Any clinician seeking to apply or consult the NCCN Guidelines is expected to use independent medical judgment in the context of individual clinical circumstances to determine any patient’s care or treatment. NCCN believes that the best management of any cancer patient is in a clinical trial.

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