Newswise — PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [February 4, 2019]—The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) announces formal endorsements from the governments of Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania for the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ for Sub-Saharan Africa, while joining cancer leaders across the globe to raise awareness and take action for World Cancer Day on February 4. Those three countries are home to 335 million people, about 33% of the Sub-Saharan African population, and have a combined 225,500 new cancer diagnoses every year. The NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ are part of the organization’s year-round commitment to reducing the global cancer burden by defining and advancing high-quality, high-value, patient-centered cancer care.
“We know that cancer patients who are treated according to standard clinical guidelines have better outcomes, but until now, we haven’t had guidelines to fit the complexities of cancer in Africa,” said David Atuwo, MD, National Cancer Control Coordinator at the Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria. “This collaborative project from the African Cancer Coalition and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network allows us to bring together African oncology experts and their U.S. counterparts to create up-to-date, evidence-based guidance for cancer treatment in Africa and to ensure that people with cancer in Africa will get the best quality of care we can give them.”
“Working together with the African Cancer Coalition, we’re able to adapt the easy-to-follow algorithms and evidence-based treatment recommendations that NCCN Guidelines are known for, in order to account for different resource levels,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Standardizing practices make the medication market more predictable, which helps with negotiations to lower prices. It also allows for more regional training and collaboration, while reducing needless duplications of efforts.”
NCCN’s work with the African Cancer Coalition is part of a broader collaboration with The American Cancer Society (ACS), the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and IBM, which is addressing rising cancer rates and limited resources in parts of Africa. So far, the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ for Sub-Saharan Africa include:
- Adult Cancer Pain
- Antiemesis (nausea and vomiting prevention)
- B-Cell Lymphomas (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas)
- Bladder Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
- Colon Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Gastric Cancer
- Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia (GTN)
- Head and Neck Cancers (concentrating on the lip, oral, and oropharynx)
- Kaposi Sarcoma
- Kidney Cancer
- Myeloid Growth Factors
- Palliative Care
- Prostate Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Small Cell Lung Cancer
NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®)—which were downloaded more than 10 million times across the world in 2018—are already being used by 90% of radiation oncologists in Nigeria, according to a study published in the Journal of Global Oncology on April 11, 2018. But the study also found some clinicians can have difficulty implementing the recommendations due to facility resource limitations. The NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ are helping to address that problem by including two tiers of treatment recommendations, which vary depending on access to resources like radiation equipment or laparoscopic surgical tools. NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ are available free-of-charge for non-commercial use online at NCCN.org/harmonized, or via the NCCN Virtual Library of NCCN Guidelines® Mobile App for tablets and smartphones.
“Improving access to high-quality cancer care worldwide is the cornerstone to everything we do at NCCN,” said Dr. Carlson. “We believe everyone should be able to get the best treatment possible; we are committed to doing our part to see that medical advances reach every corner of every country across the world.”
NCCN Resource Campaign for Cervical Cancer Patients and Caregivers
NCCN is also a member of the World Cancer Day advisory group, representing the United States in the lead-up to the worldwide event on February 4. Nigeria’s Project PINK BLUE is also participating in the group, along with representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, India, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
“This World Cancer Day, we want people to know that many cancers can be managed and even cured, especially if they’re detected and treated as early as possible,” said Dr. Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control. “By detecting cancer at its earliest stage, we seize the greatest opportunity to prevent millions of avoidable deaths worldwide.”
Cervical cancer is one area where early detection and prevention, such as the HPV vaccine, can have particularly powerful results in reducing the number of deaths. In the United States, the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with cervical cancer at the advanced stage is just 15%, compared to 93% if diagnosed before cancer has spread.
In a new effort to raise patient awareness of effective therapies for the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer, NCCN is raising funds through the NCCN Foundation® to create NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Cervical Cancer.
About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so 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. By defining and advancing 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 around the world.
About World Cancer Day 2019
World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4 February and is the uniting global initiative under which the world comes together to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. Spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and improving education about the disease alongside calling on governments and individuals across the world to take action.
2019 will be the first year of the new three-year campaign, ‘I Am and I Will’. The new theme is an empowering call for personal commitment and represents the power of our actions taken now to reduce the growing impact of cancer. This year follows on the back of last year’s tremendous campaign success, including nearly 1,000 activities taking place in 130 countries, over half a million tweets, and more than 50 governments participating in 2018.
 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. Custom data acquired via website.
 Globocan dataset: https://gco.iarc.fr/
 American Cancer Society (2017) Survival Rates for Cervical Cancer, by Stage [Accessed: 19.12.2018] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival.html