The NCCN publishes first two patient-friendly clinical practice guidelines

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is an alliance of 21 of the world's leading cancer centers. Their member institutions include MD Anderson, Stanford, Fred Hutchinson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Duke, Dana Farber and several more.

For years now they have been publishing their clinical practice guidelines for almost every kind of cancer, but while they are arguably the most influential set of guidelines in the world, they have always been written for doctors and other health care professionals--never in language the patient can understand.

However last year they announced they would begin publishing patient-friendly versions of these guidelines, and finally, the first two have been published—and they are definitely worth the wait.

The first is the NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Breast Cancer.

This link opens to a PDF that allows you, the patient or caregiver, to better understand how top oncologists approach breast cancer, and you can follow their flow charts from diagnostic testing through staging, treatment and beyond.

This is a HUGE step forward, and I urge everyone to check it out, even if you've been diagnosed with a different cancer. It's almost a behind-the-scenes look at how oncologists at the most influential cancer centers in the United States approach your cancer care. It really helps lift some of the confusion and mystery from the process.

They have also published NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (also a PDF), and patient-friendly guidelines for more cancers are on the way.

Let's hope the lymphomas aren't too far behind!

By Ross Bonander

Read the press release regarding these guidelines here.

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