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Michelle E. Melisko and Joseph B. Narus

By the year 2024, predictions estimate that there will be approximately 19 million cancer survivors in the United States, many of whom will experience the physical and/or psychosocial long-term effects of cancer and its treatment. Although sexual dysfunction is common among these individuals, causing increased distress and negatively impacting quality of life, this critical part of survivorship care is often underrecognized and undertreated. At the NCCN 21st Annual Conference, Drs. Melisko and Narus reviewed the sexual function recommendations in the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship, offering practical strategies for assessing and managing both female and male sexual dysfunction.

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Colby J. Hyland, Flora Varghese, Christina Yau, Heather Beckwith, Katia Khoury, William Varnado, Gillian L. Hirst, Robert R. Flavell, A. Jo Chien, Douglas Yee, Claudine J. Isaacs, Andres Forero-Torres, Laura J. Esserman, and Michelle E. Melisko

Background: Metastatic staging imaging is not recommended for asymptomatic patients with stage I–II breast cancer. Greater distant metastatic disease risk may warrant baseline imaging in patients with stage II–III with high-risk biologic subtypes. NCCN Guidelines recommend considering CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis (CT CAP) and bone scan in appropriate patients. CT CAP and bone scan are considered standard of care (SoC), although PET/CT is a patient-centered alternative. Methods: Data were available for 799 high-risk patients with clinical stage II–III disease who initiated screening for the I-SPY2 trial at 4 institutions. A total of 564 complete records were reviewed to compare PET/CT versus SoC. Costs were determined from the payer perspective using the national 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and representative reimbursements to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) measured cost of using PET/CT per percent of patients who avoided a false-positive (FP). Results: The de novo metastatic disease rate was 4.6%. Imaging varied across the 4 institutions (P<.0001). The FP rate was higher using SoC versus PET/CT (22.1% vs 11.1%; P=.0009). Mean time between incidental finding on baseline imaging to FP determination was 10.8 days. Mean time from diagnosis to chemotherapy initiation was 44.3 days with SoC versus 37.5 days with PET/CT (P=.0001). Mean cost per patient was $1,132 (SoC) versus $1,477 (PET/CT) using the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, with an ICER of $31. Using representative reimbursements to UCSF, mean cost per patient was $1,236 (SoC) versus $1,073 (PET/CT) for Medicare, and $3,083 (SoC) versus $1,656 (PET/CT) for a private payer, with ICERs of −$15 and −$130, respectively. Conclusions: Considerable variation exists in metastatic staging practices. PET/CT reduced FP risk by half and decreased workup of incidental findings, allowing for earlier treatment start. PET/CT may be cost-effective, and at one institution was shown to be cost-saving. Better alignment is needed between hospital pricing strategies and payer coverage policies to deliver high-value care.

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Crystal S. Denlinger, Robert W. Carlson, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Elizabeth Davis, Stephen B. Edge, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Mary S. McCabe, Kevin T. McVary, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Tracey O’Connor, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Various anticancer treatments, especially those directed toward the pelvis, can damage blood vessels and reduce circulation of blood to the penis and/or damage the autonomic nervous system, resulting in higher rates of erectile dysfunction in survivors than in the general population. In addition, hormonal therapy can contribute to sexual problems, as can depression and anxiety, which are common in cancer survivors. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening, evaluation, and treatment recommendations for male sexual problems, namely erectile dysfunction.

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Crystal S. Denlinger, Robert W. Carlson, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Elizabeth Davis, Stephen B. Edge, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Mary S. McCabe, Kevin T. McVary, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Tracey O’Connor, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Cancer treatment, especially hormonal therapy and therapy directed toward the pelvis, can contribute to sexual problems, as can depression and anxiety, which are common in cancer survivors. Thus, sexual dysfunction is common in survivors and can cause increased distress and have a significant negative impact on quality of life. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides screening, evaluation, and treatment recommendations for female sexual problems, including those related to sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain.

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Crystal S. Denlinger, Robert W. Carlson, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Elizabeth Davis, Stephen B. Edge, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Lee Jones, Allison King, Elizabeth Kvale, Terry S. Langbaum, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Mary S. McCabe, Kevin T. McVary, Michelle Melisko, Jose G. Montoya, Kathi Mooney, Mary Ann Morgan, Tracey O’Connor, Electra D. Paskett, Muhammad Raza, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole McMillian, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Many cancer survivors experience physical and/or psychosocial side effects, which can be severe, debilitating, and sometimes permanent. These NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provide screening, evaluation, and treatment recommendations for common consequences of cancer and cancer treatment for health care professionals who work with survivors of adult-onset cancer in the posttreatment period. These introductory sections of the guidelines include the panel’s definition of cancer survivors, a discussion of the effects of cancer and its treatment, general principles and standards for survivorship care, and guidance regarding screening for problems that require further assessment.

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Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Don Dizon, 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, Jeffrey Peppercorn, Muhammad Raza, M. Alma Rodriguez, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole R. McMillian, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

Cancer survivors are at an elevated risk for infection because of immune suppression associated with prior cancer treatments, and they are at increased risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides recommendations for the prevention of infections in survivors through education, antimicrobial prophylaxis, and the judicious use of vaccines. These guidelines provide information about travel and gardening precautions and safe pet care/avoidance of zoonosis, and include detailed recommendations regarding vaccinations that should be considered and encouraged in cancer and transplant survivors.

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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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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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Crystal S. Denlinger, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Madhuri Are, K. Scott Baker, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Don Dizon, 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, Jeffrey Peppercorn, Muhammad Raza, M. Alma Rodriguez, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Mark T. Wakabayashi, Phyllis Zee, Nicole R. McMillian, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

Healthy lifestyle habits have been associated with improved health outcomes and quality of life and, for some cancers, a reduced risk of recurrence and death. The NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship therefore recommend that cancer survivors be encouraged to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, with attention to weight management, physical activity, and dietary habits. This section of the NCCN Guidelines focuses on recommendations regarding physical activity in survivors, including assessment for the risk of exercise-induced adverse events, exercise prescriptions, guidance for resistance training, and considerations for specific populations (eg, survivors with lymphedema, ostomies, peripheral neuropathy). In addition, strategies to encourage health behavioral change in survivors are discussed.

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NCCN Guidelines Insights: Survivorship, Version 2.2019

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Tara Sanft, Crystal S. Denlinger, Saro Armenian, K. Scott Baker, Gregory Broderick, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Debra L. Friedman, Mindy Goldman, Melissa Hudson, Nazanin Khakpour, Divya Koura, Robin M. Lally, Terry S. Langbaum, Allison L. McDonough, Michelle Melisko, Kathi Mooney, Halle C.F. Moore, Javid J. Moslehi, Tracey O’Connor, Linda Overholser, Electra D. Paskett, Lindsay Peterson, William Pirl, M. Alma Rodriguez, Kathryn J. Ruddy, Sophia Smith, Karen L. Syrjala, Amye Tevaarwerk, Susan G. Urba, Phyllis Zee, Nicole R. McMillian, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

The NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provide screening, evaluation, and treatment recommendations for consequences of cancer and cancer treatment to aid healthcare professionals who work with survivors of adult-onset cancer. Guidance is also provided to help promote physical activity, weight management, and proper immunizations in survivors and to facilitate care coordination to ensure that all needs are addressed. These NCCN Insights summarize some of the topics discussed by the NCCN Survivorship Panel during the 2019 update of the guidelines, including the survivorship population addressed, ways to improve care coordination, and pain management.