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Highlights of the NCCN 18th Annual Conference Include Expert Roundtables, Presentation of New Guidelines for Survivorship

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Key Points

  • Experts discussed the cost of cancer care and the implications of uncertainty in the opening roundtable led by Sam Donaldson.
  • Clifford Goodman, PhD, moderated a discussion focused on the ever-evolving oncology landscape.
  • The new NCCN Guidelines on Survivorship and Penile Cancer were presented.
  • Updates to the NCCN Guidelines for Thyroid Carcinoma included a new section devoted to systemic therapy for anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) held the NCCN 18th Annual Conference: Advancing the Standard of Cancer Care™, March 13-17, 2013, at The Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida. The latest updates in clinical practice decision-making in cancer care were presented, including, but not limited to, updates to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Thyroid Carcinoma, as well as presentation of the new NCCN Guidelines for Penile Cancer and Survivorship.

The Cost of Hope

Following opening remarks from Robert W. Carlson, MD, CEO, NCCN, and keynote address from Amanda Bennett, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Executive Editor, Bloomberg News, and author of The Cost of Hope: A Memoir, a candid roundtable was led by Sam Donaldson, ABC News veteran and anchor, to discuss the cost of cancer care and the implications of uncertainty.

"In some ways," said Ms. Bennett, "we need to think a lot harder about the technology of understanding the 'soft stuff'. There is a way of understanding uncertainty. There is a way of communicating uncertainty. There is a way of balancing out hope and trying, and yet understanding that it might not happen. I think that learning a little bit more about how to do that is very important."

A summary of the discussion is available at NCCN.org.

New and Updated NCCN Guidelines

On Thursday, March 14, 2013, NCCN Guidelines Panel Members presented the first-ever NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship. These new NCCN Guidelines cover eight distinct areas of survivorship: anxiety and depression, cognitive function, exercise, fatigue, immunizations and infections, pain, sexual function, and sleep disorders. NCCN Guidelines Panel Chair, Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, Attending Physician and Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, noted that the key to survivorship care is an accurate survivorship baseline assessment using recommendations provided in the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship.

The NCCN Guidelines for Penile Cancer, which were added to the complete library of NCCN Guidelines in 2012, were also presented. "There is a high degree of heterogeneity in how penile cancer is cared for across North America—and around the world—often utilizing non–evidence-based treatment approaches," said Phillipe E. Spiess, MD, MS, FACS, Associate Professor of Genitourinary Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, and NCCN Guidelines Panel Chair for Penile Cancer. "The development of the NCCN Guidelines for Penile Cancer will be impactful in optimizing the care of patients faced with this relatively rare tumor type."

Attendees also learned about the latest additions to the NCCN Guidelines for Thyroid Carcinoma, including, but not limited to, a new section devoted to systemic therapy for anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

The Changing Oncology Landscape

The second roundtable of the conference, held Friday, March 15, 2013, brought together an expert panel of physicians representing a diverse group of stakeholders involved in cancer care. Moderated by Clifford Goodman, PhD, The Lewin Group, the discussion focused on the ever-evolving oncology landscape, as it pertains to current disparities in the quality and value of cancer care, the implementation of big data, and the shift to more personalized care and advanced care planning. A summary of the roundtable is available at NCCN.org.

Also held on site during the NCCN 18th Annual Conference were the 2013 NCCN Nursing Program: Advancing Oncology Nursing, the 2013 NCCN Fellows Recognition Program: New Horizons in Quality Cancer Care, Meet the Experts Breakout Sessions, the second annual State Oncology Society Forum, and general poster sessions, which included 2011 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Award recipients, among others.

The NCCN 19th Annual Conference is scheduled for March 12-16, 2014.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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