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NCCN Postpones 2020 Annual Conference, Citing Precautions Against Potential Patient Exposure to COVID-19


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The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN) announced today that the organization is postponing the NCCN 2020 Annual Conference and preconference programs that were scheduled for March 19–22 in Orlando. The gathering for more than 1,500 oncology professionals was going to feature more than 30 educational sessions on state-of-the-art practices in cancer care. NCCN officials were compelled to postpone in response to the rapidly evolving situation involving the potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The health and safety of our attendees and the patients they take care of is our number one concern,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer of NCCN. “This was an incredibly difficult and disappointing decision to have to make. However, our conference attendees work to save the lives of immunocompromised people every day. Some of them are cancer survivors themselves, particularly at our patient advocacy pavilion. It’s our responsibility, in an abundance of caution, to safeguard them from any potential exposure to COVID-19.”

“We have a moral and professional obligation to do what we can individually and collectively to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” said Ronald S. Walters, MD, MBA, MHA, MS, Chair, NCCN Board of Directors, and a breast medical oncologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Under the current circumstances, due diligence means thoughtfully curtailing any nonessential travel or gatherings for people across the oncology care ecosystem.”

NCCN leadership sought advice from leading infectious disease experts before deciding to postpone the conference, which was also going to include a celebration of the organization’s 25th anniversary.

“NCCN will continue to ensure that cancer care providers all over the world can stay up to date on the latest evidence- and expert consensus-based recommendations through our NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines), available for free online or [through our] app, and through our continuing education congresses and webinars,” said Dr. Carlson. “We’re exploring additional ways technology can help us to share any critical cancer management updates we had planned to discuss during the conference. We look forward to future events, when the health landscape will hopefully be improved.”

NCCN staff is working as quickly as possible to notify all conference registrants about the postponement and further information regarding the refund process. Questions can be directed to conferences@nccn.org.

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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