Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, NCCN’s experts from our Member Institutions, which represent leading academic cancer centers in the United States, remain committed to the development and timely updates of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) that help cancer care providers provide optimal management for patients. The NCCN 2022 Annual Conference, held March 31 through April 2, brought together more than a thousand oncology professionals from around the world to learn about the latest evidence-based treatment recommendations and evaluate new research. Taking place online via a user-friendly virtual platform, the conference included more than 30 educational sessions that focused on state-of-the-art practice algorithms for care across multiple cancer types; updates to the NCCN Guidelines; new and emerging therapies; controversies in treatment and areas where further studies are needed; and best practices in the delivery of oncology care. This special issue of JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network presents these Highlights, in print and online at JNCCN.org (including selected online-only recaps), as a synopsis of the virtual proceedings.
The webinars synopsized here provide a deeper understanding of the strong evidence and continually advancing science that support recommendations found in the NCCN Guidelines, and which help achieve the best outcomes in cancer management. The conference included concurrent sessions on topics such as genetic risk assessment, the future of telemedicine, and preventive health in cancer survivors. Leading experts presented the latest treatment recommendations for more than a dozen different types of cancer including breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, and prostate.
This year, NCCN included 3 plenary sessions on the patient journey, dealing with access to care, equity of care, and survivorship. The moderated panel discussion on access (synopsis available online at JNCCN.org) examined how academic cancer centers are expanding treatment services to the community (including home-based care) while exploring the challenges posed by each different setting. The equity panel (synopsis also available at JNCCN.org) included a review of programs that are helping to close care gaps and highlighted how the policy landscape is evolving. The survivor care session (synopsis in print and online at JNCCN.org) focused on managing unmet psychosocial needs, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and distress.
NCCN’s core mission is to help people with cancer live better lives. This means recognizing and addressing the anxiety and distress that is prevalent in up to 80% of cancer survivors. It also means having frank discussions about implicit and explicit biases in care, and taking on social determinants of health. Of course, all of these conversations are happening in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed systemic problems and radically changed care delivery.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on cancer care are also the subject of numerous electronic posters. These are among the more than 200 new studies in clinical oncology, epidemiology, bioinformatics, quality improvement, best practices, and outcomes and health services, including equity and disparities, discussed in abstracts published in the print version of the Highlights and online at JNCCN.org.
During the conference, the online platform also included an interactive exhibition hall featuring more than 50 exhibits from industry, patient advocacy, and health information technology entities. The virtual event platform allows attendees to continue accessing all conference sessions and exhibits for 60 days after the live conference concluded. Now the sessions are available as recorded webcasts via the NCCN Continuing Education portal at education.nccn.org.
We welcome you to participate in the post-conference discussion on social media by using the hashtag #NCCN2022, or visit NCCN.org/news for updates. And stay tuned for more information on the NCCN 2023 Annual Conference, which will take place March 31 to April 2, 2023 in Orlando, Florida, and incorporate a combined hybrid in-person and virtual format. Look for more information at NCCN.org/conference. In the meantime, NCCN is planning to return to Washington, DC for the Oncology Policy Summit on June 17, 2022. A virtual attendance option will also be available. The focus will be how to build a modern workplace that meets the needs of cancer patients, survivors, and caretakers. Learn more at NCCN.org/summits and visit NCCN.org/events for information on all upcoming NCCN events and webinars.