Over the past decade, the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) have emerged as a very useful tool for supporting and improving the quality of decision-making for oncologists worldwide. Considering that approximately 12 million cancer patients were registered by the WHO during 2008 and that the NCCN Web site (www.NCCN.org) attracts more than 150,000 visitors per month, one can conclude that the NCCN Guidelines program has potentially influenced the management of approximately 15% of all cancer patients worldwide. Although this example shows its far-reaching benefit, it also shows that there is plenty of room for expanding its application. A real need exists within the oncology community to have a reliable evidence-based tool to translate the rapidly accumulating scientific research into practical medical decisions that may offer a better and more consistent treatment outcome for patients.
The NCCN recently launched the NCCN–Middle East and North Africa (NCCN–MENA) Guidelines Congress in an attempt to provide versions of the original NCCN Guidelines tailored for cancer management in this region. However, one may ask whether it is really important to have a revised set of Guidelines specifically dedicated to a certain geographical region, when the original NCCN guidelines are satisfactory and comprehensive. We believe the answer is “YES” for 3 main reasons: differences in race, genetic, and environmental factors; differences in presenting features and stage; and differences in access to technology and drugs.
The ideas and viewpoints expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any policy, position, or program of the NCCN.
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