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The Value and Process of Inclusion: Using Sensitive, Respectful, and Inclusive Language and Images in NCCN Content

Deborah A. Freedman-Cass, Tanya Fischer, Ash B. Alpert, Juno Obedin-Maliver, Pamela L. Kunz, Wui-Jin Koh, and Robert W. Carlson

A core component of NCCN’s mission is to improve and facilitate equitable cancer care. Inclusion and representation of diverse populations are essential toward this goal of equity. Within NCCN’s professional content, inclusivity increases the likelihood that clinicians are prepared to provide optimal oncology care to all patients; within NCCN’s patient-facing content, it helps ensure that cancer information is relevant and accessible for all individuals. This article describes changes that have been made in the language and images used in the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) and the NCCN Guidelines for Patients to promote justice, respect, and inclusion for all patients with cancer. The goals are to use language that is person-first, nonstigmatizing, inclusive of individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and anti-racist, anti-classist, anti-misogynist, anti-ageist, anti-ableist, and anti–fat-biased. NCCN also seeks to incorporate multifaceted diversity in images and illustrations. NCCN is committed to continued and expanding efforts to ensure its publications are inclusive, respectful, and trustworthy, and that they advance just, equitable, high-quality, and effective cancer care for all.

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Palliative Care

Michael H. Levy, Michael D. Adolph, Anthony Back, Susan Block, Shirley N. Codada, Shalini Dalal, Teresa L. Deshields, Elisabeth Dexter, Sydney M. Dy, Sara J. Knight, Sumathi Misra, Christine S. Ritchie, Todd M. Sauer, Thomas Smith, David Spiegel, Linda Sutton, Robert M. Taylor, Jennifer Temel, Jay Thomas, Roma Tickoo, Susan G. Urba, Jamie H. Von Roenn, Joseph L. Weems, Sharon M. Weinstein, Deborah A. Freedman-Cass, and Mary Anne Bergman

These guidelines were developed and updated by an interdisciplinary group of experts based on clinical experience and available scientific evidence. The goal of these guidelines is to help patients with cancer experience the best quality of life possible throughout the illness trajectory by providing guidance for the primary oncology team for symptom screening, assessment, palliative care interventions, reassessment, and afterdeath care. Palliative care should be initiated by the primary oncology team and augmented by collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of palliative care experts.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Randall W. Burt, Jamie A. Cannon, Donald S. David, Dayna S. Early, James M. Ford, Francis M. Giardiello, Amy L. Halverson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Heather Hampel, Mohammad K. Ismail, Kory Jasperson, Jason B. Klapman, Audrey J. Lazenby, Patrick M. Lynch, Robert J. Mayer, Reid M. Ness, Dawn Provenzale, M. Sambasiva Rao, Moshe Shike, Gideon Steinbach, Jonathan P. Terdiman, David Weinberg, Mary Dwyer, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Mortality from colorectal cancer can be reduced by early diagnosis and by cancer prevention through polypectomy. These NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening describe various colorectal screening modalities and recommended screening schedules for patients at average or increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. In addition, the guidelines provide recommendations for the management of patients with high-risk colorectal cancer syndromes, including Lynch syndrome. Screening approaches for Lynch syndrome are also described.

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Occult Primary, Version 3.2014

David S. Ettinger, Charles R. Handorf, Mark Agulnik, Daniel W. Bowles, Justin M. Cates, Mihaela Cristea, Efrat Dotan, Keith D. Eaton, Panagiotis M. Fidias, David Gierada, G. Weldon Gilcrease, Kelly Godby, Renuka Iyer, Renato Lenzi, John Phay, Asif Rashid, Leonard Saltz, Richard B. Schwab, Lawrence N. Shulman, Jeffrey B. Smerage, Marvaretta M. Stevenson, Gauri R. Varadhachary, Jonathan S. Zager, Weining (Ken) Zhen, Mary Anne Bergman, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

The NCCN Guidelines for Occult Primary tumors provide recommendations for the evaluation, workup, management, and follow-up of patients with occult primary tumors (cancers of unknown primary). These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize major discussion points of the 2014 NCCN Occult Primary panel meeting. The panel discussed gene expression profiling (GEP) for the identification of the tissue of origin and concluded that, although GEP has a diagnostic benefit, a clinical benefit has not been demonstrated. The panel recommends against GEP as standard management, although 20% of the panel believes the diagnostic benefit of GEP warrants its routine use. In addition, the panel discussed testing for actionable mutations (eg, ALK) to help guide choice of therapy, but declined to add this recommendation.

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Survivorship: Cognitive Function, Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O'Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole R. McMillian, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

Cognitive impairment is a common complaint among cancer survivors and may be a consequence of the tumors themselves or direct effects of cancer-related treatment (eg, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, radiation). For some survivors, symptoms persist over the long term and, when more severe, can impact quality of life and function. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides assessment, evaluation, and management recommendations for cognitive dysfunction in survivors. Nonpharmacologic interventions (eg, instruction in coping strategies; management of distress, pain, sleep disturbances, and fatigue; occupational therapy) are recommended, with pharmacologic interventions as a last line of therapy in survivors for whom other interventions have been insufficient.

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Cancer in People Living With HIV, Version 1.2018, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Erin Reid, Gita Suneja, Richard F. Ambinder, Kevin Ard, Robert Baiocchi, Stefan K. Barta, Evie Carchman, Adam Cohen, Neel Gupta, Kimberly L. Johung, Ann Klopp, Ann S. LaCasce, Chi Lin, Oxana V. Makarova-Rusher, Amitkumar Mehta, Manoj P. Menon, David Morgan, Nitya Nathwani, Ariela Noy, Frank Palella, Lee Ratner, Stacey Rizza, Michelle A. Rudek, Jeff Taylor, Benjamin Tomlinson, Chia-Ching J. Wang, Mary A. Dwyer, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

People living with HIV (PLWH) are diagnosed with cancer at an increased rate over the general population and generally have a higher mortality due to delayed diagnoses, advanced cancer stage, comorbidities, immunosuppression, and cancer treatment disparities. Lack of guidelines and provider education has led to substandard cancer care being offered to PLWH. To fill that gap, the NCCN Guidelines for Cancer in PLWH were developed; they provide treatment recommendations for PLWH who develop non–small cell lung cancer, anal cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and cervical cancer. In addition, the NCCN Guidelines outline advice regarding HIV management during cancer therapy; drug–drug interactions between antiretroviral treatments and cancer therapies; and workup, radiation therapy, surgical management, and supportive care in PLWH who have cancer.

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Rectal Cancer

Al B. Benson III, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Emily Chan, Yi-Jen Chen, Michael A. Choti, Harry S. Cooper, Paul F. Engstrom, Peter C. Enzinger, Marwan G. Fakih, Charles S. Fuchs, Jean L. Grem, Steven Hunt, Lucille A. Leong, Edward Lin, Michael G. Martin, Kilian Salerno May, Mary F. Mulcahy, Kate Murphy, Eric Rohren, David P. Ryan, Leonard Saltz, Sunil Sharma, David Shibata, John M. Skibber, William Small Jr, Constantinos T. Sofocleous, Alan P. Venook, Christopher G. Willett, Deborah A. Freedman-Cass, and Kristina M. Gregory

These NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology provide recommendations for the management of rectal cancer, beginning with the clinical presentation of the patient to the primary care physician or gastroenterologist through diagnosis, pathologic staging, neoadjuvant treatment, surgical management, adjuvant treatment, surveillance, management of recurrent and metastatic disease, and survivorship. This discussion focuses on localized disease. The NCCN Rectal Cancer Panel believes that a multidisciplinary approach, including representation from gastroenterology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and radiology, is necessary for treating patients with rectal cancer.

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Pediatric Aggressive Mature B-Cell Lymphomas, Version 2.2020, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Kimberly Davies, Matthew Barth, Saro Armenian, Anthony N. Audino, Phillip Barnette, Branko Cuglievan, Hilda Ding, James B. Ford, Paul J. Galardy, Rebecca Gardner, Rabi Hanna, Robert Hayashi, Alexandra E. Kovach, Andrea Judit Machnitz, Kelly W. Maloney, Lianna Marks, Kristin Page, Anne F. Reilly, Joanna L. Weinstein, Ana C. Xavier, Nicole R. McMillian, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

Pediatric aggressive mature B-cell lymphomas are the most common types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children, and they include Burkitt lymphoma (BL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). These diseases are highly aggressive but curable, the treatment is complex, and patients may have many complicated supportive care issues. The NCCN Guidelines for Pediatric Aggressive Mature B-Cell Lymphomas provide guidance regarding pathology and diagnosis, staging, initial treatment, disease reassessment, surveillance, therapy for relapsed/refractory disease, and supportive care for clinicians who treat sporadic pediatric BL and DLBCL.

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Survivorship: Pain Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O’Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Many posttreatment cancer survivors experience chronic pain, often leading to psychological distress; decreased activity, motivation, and personal interactions; and an overall poor quality of life. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening and management recommendations for pain in survivors. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended, with a combination of pharmacologic treatments, psychosocial and behavioral interventions, physical therapy and exercise, and interventional procedures.

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Survivorship: Sleep Disorders, Version 1.2014

Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Grace H. Ku, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Kristin Leonardi-Warren, Mary S. McCabe, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O’Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Sleep disorders, including insomnia and excessive sleepiness, affect a significant proportion of patients with cancer and survivors, often in combination with fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Improvements in sleep lead to improvements in fatigue, mood, and quality of life. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening, diagnosis, and management recommendations for sleep disorders in survivors. Management includes combinations of sleep hygiene education, physical activity, psychosocial interventions, and pharmacologic treatments.