Newswise — [FORT WASHINGTON, PA – March 6, 2017] — “Like my own patients, I had to face my mortality and try to understand what made my life worth living—and I needed [my doctor’s] help to do so,” wrote the late neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, MD, in his New York Times bestselling memoir, When Breath Becomes Air. Kalanithi died in March 2015 at age 37 following a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer.

In the first time addressing a public forum together, Kalanithi’s widow, Lucy Kalanithi, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford School of Medicine; and his oncologist, Heather Wakelee, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford Cancer Institute, will participate in a moderated discussion Friday, March 24 at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) 22nd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care™.

The NCCN Conference will take place March 23–25, 2017, at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. More than 1,600 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other oncology stakeholders and industry leaders will convene to discuss the most pressing issues in oncology, including issues of survivorship, fertility, nicotine addiction, and other psychosocial issues that impact quality of life. Sessions will also address new immunotherapy approaches for several cancers, and will reference new and updated NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®).

To view the full conference agenda or to register, visit Follow the conference on Twitter #NCCNac2017. For a conference media kit, visit

Drs. Kalanithi and Wakelee will address how contending with a life-threatening illness can increase the complexity of relationships among patients, families, and health care providers, and strategies oncologists can use to help both patients and caregivers manage the process in a patient-centered way.

“In addition to providing the latest updates in cancer treatment, we wanted to focus conference sessions on the emotional and supportive care issues that impact oncology care,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “We must educate oncologists in managing the psychosocial challenges of cancer, whose effects often impact the lives of patients and their families long after treatment has ended,” Carlson added. “The practice of oncology must be concerned not only with extending life, but also with ensuring that patients can live their lives as meaningfully as possible, based on their values. We must all learn how to have that conversation.”

Key to the NCCN Annual Conference agenda are updates from NCCN Member Institution experts about front-line issues affecting the treatment and support of patients with cancer. The following sessions are featured in this year’s agenda:

Roundtable: Addressing Health Disparities in Cancer Care from Diagnosis to Survivorship o Clifford Goodman, PhD, Senior Vice President, The Lewin Group (moderator)o Shauntice Allen, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Centero Moon S. Chen, Jr., PhD, MPH, University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Centero Edith Mitchell, MD, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jeffersono Phyllis Pettit Nassi, MSW, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

• Life after Treatment: Quality of Life Concerns in Patients Treated for Cancer• Multi-Gene Testing for Hereditary Cancer: When, Why, and How?• Challenges of Toxicity Management in Immuno-Oncology• Opportunities and Challenges: Human Papillomavirus and Cancer• Smoking Cessation in Patients with Cancer: Treatment Advances and the Oncologist’s Role• Implications of the New American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Staging System

NCCN Guidelines® Updates

NCCN Guidelines panels develop the world’s most widely used oncology treatment guidelines, which are continuously updated. The conference will provide sessions on NCCN Guidelines that have been updated in the past year and address various cancer types, including:

• Advanced Bladder Cancer• Breast Cancer• Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia• Colorectal cancer• Gynecologic Malignancies • Hodgkin Lymphoma• Kidney Cancer• Multiple Myeloma• Myeloproliferative Neoplasms• Neuroendocrine Tumors• Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas• Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer• Pancreatic Cancer• Soft Tissue Sarcoma

The conference will also have on hand new NCCN Guidelines for Patients®, which provide cancer information and treatment options in lay-friendly language, offering patients a framework for discussion with their care team. Since last year’s conference, NCCN published new NCCN Guidelines for Patients on Brain Cancer (Gliomas), Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, Follicular Lymphoma, Mantle Cell Lymphoma, Mycosis Fungoides, Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Nausea and Vomiting, Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma, Stomach Cancer, and Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia.


About the National Comprehensive Cancer NetworkThe National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 of the world’s leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

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