News Details

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Working with Health Officials in Bolivia to Improve Cancer Care

Nonprofit alliance to adapt NCCN Guidelines® for Breast, Cervical, and Rectal Cancer to better meet cancer burden and resource levels in Bolivia.

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA [April 24, 2019] — Representatives from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®)—an alliance of 28 top academic cancer centers in the United States—meet today with health leaders in The Plurinational State of Bolivia to begin generating cancer treatment recommendations to fit the country’s unique needs. These new national guidelines will be based on the NCCN Framework for Resource Stratification of NCCN Guidelines (NCCN Framework™), which are themselves based on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®). These versions will be translated into Spanish and will be the first to be adapted to the specific cancer care circumstances in Bolivia.

“The NCCN Guidelines are the most widely used cancer treatment guidelines in Bolivia; now they will be even more accessible and appropriate for optimizing treatment practices across the country,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Working with local experts allows us to customize our evidence- and expert-consensus-based recommendations to reflect different levels of resource availability in Bolivia. We are also able to target the areas of greatest need for this population. These types of collaborative projects are crucial to our mission to define and advance high-quality, high-value, patient-centered cancer care all over the world.”

The Bolivian adaptations of NCCN Framework™ will join a growing number of Adaptations & Translations, NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™, and other resources designed for use outside of the United States. They are all available to view or download for free at NCCN.org, or via the Virtual Library of NCCN Guidelines® App for smartphone and tablet.

The first three Bolivian adaptations will focus on breast, cervical, and rectal cancers, based on the highest incidences and most need for the region. NCCN plans to address additional cancer types in future editions.

The delegation from NCCN includes CEO Dr. Carlson, as well as Chief Medical Officer Wui-Jin Koh, MD, former Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Cervical Cancer. William J. Gradishar, MD, and Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO, both from Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and current Chairs of the NCCN Guidelines Panels for Breast and Rectal Cancer, respectively, round out the group.

“We know different regions of the world have different needs when it comes to cancer care guidelines,” explained Dr. Koh. “At NCCN, we have recently placed an increasing focus on low- and-middle-income countries to make sure we are doing everything we can to improve standards for cancer care delivery and elevate outcomes for everybody.”

This work is possible thanks to the organization and funding of PROMIS Bolivia, with generous support from Northwestern Medicine’s Global Health Initiative and the Lurie Cancer Center. PROMIS Bolivia is a charitable foundation whose mission is to adapt, disseminate and implement state-of-the-science, international health care interventions throughout Bolivia in order to maximize the health outcomes of patients and their families. 

“This collaboration is an important step forward for cancer care in Bolivia,” said Steven J. Schuetz, MD, chief surgical resident at Northwestern Medicine and founder of PROMIS Bolivia. “Cancer care in Bolivia remains geographically and financially inaccessible to a large proportion of the population, with high rates of medical impoverishment and early termination of treatment. The development of NCCN resource-stratified cancer guidelines adapted to the Bolivian healthcare system will allow every cancer patient in Bolivia—regardless of socioeconomic status—to be provided evidence-based cancer care that promotes treatment completion, minimizes impoverishment and results in better outcomes for the patient and their family.”

For more information about NCCN’s global work to improve and standardize cancer care practices worldwide, visit NCCN.org/global, and join the conversation online with the hashtag #NCCNGlobal.

# # #