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Understanding guidelines for treatment

Doctors generally refer to guidelines or protocols when they make decisions about your treatment or present you with your options. These protocols are based on the latest research findings and sometimes patients and their loved ones want to understand them, even if they trust the treatment team is up-to-date. This section provides important information on state-of-the-art treatment for your kind of lung cancer and particular situation.

Learn guidelines and protocols

Beware of treatment guidelines for NSCLC that you may find on the internet. Some are very old and advancements have been made in the past few years. It is not helpful to refer to guidelines that are not up-to-date.  

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) puts out clinical practice guidelines for doctors and also has easy to read and comprehensive NCCN Guidelines for Patients® . Click here to explore the guidelines for NSCLC and SCLC. 

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has evidence-based guidelines to assist doctors in making the most appropriate imaging or treatment decision for a specific clinical condition. Click here to explore the Appropriateness Criteria for lung cancer. 

The American Society of Clinical Society (ASCO) publishes guidelines on a variety of topics of interest to lung cancer patients:

Chemotherapy in stage IV NSCLC: 
Azzoli et all. 2011. 2011 Focused Update of 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Update on Chemotherapy for Stage IV Non–Small-Cell Lung CancerJournal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 29, No 28:  3825-3831.

Adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery for stage I to IIIA NSCLC: 
Pisters et al. 2007. Cancer Care Ontario and American Society of Clinical Oncology Adjuvant Chemotherapy and Adjuvant Radiation Therapy for Stages I-IIIA Resectable Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer GuidelineJournal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 25, No 34: 5506-5518.

Testing for the EGFR mutation in NSCLC:
Keedy et al. 2011. American Society of Clinical Oncology Provisional Clinical Opinion: Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Mutation Testing for Patients With Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Considering First-Line EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Therapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol. 29, No 15: 2121-2127

Integrating palliative care into cancer treatment::
Smith et al. 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology Provisional Clinical Opinion: The Integration of Palliative Care Into Standard Oncology Care. Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol. 30, No 8: 880-887.

The proper chemotherapy dosing for obese patients:
Griggs et al. 2012. Appropriate Chemotherapy Dosing for Obese Adult Patients With Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline. Journal of Clinical Oncology  Vol. 30, No. 13:1553-1561.

Lung cancer screening:
What to know: The ACCP and ASCO guideline on lung cancer screening (ASCO's Cancer.net)