Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology

ASCO Care and Treatment Recommendations for Patients

ASCO Care and Treatment Recommendations for Patients are easy-to-read summaries based on ASCO Clinical Practice Guidelines that offer a patient-oriented view of the guidelines: providing background information, discussing the recommendations, explaining what those recommendations mean for patients, and providing a list of questions patients can ask their doctors for more information.  The date on each guideline is when ASCO last published an update in response to new or revised scientific evidence. Each guideline listed here is considered the best available information on this topic to date.

All guides are available in text or in PDF format. Selected ASCO Care and Treatment Recommendations for Patients have been translated into Spanish and are available in Cancer.Net's En Espanol section.

ASCO welcomes feedback from the cancer community, including patients, about its clinical practice guideline development process, by providing feedback or submitting evidence on individual published guidelines. Learn more at this website.

Watch a patient education video led by Dr. Mark Kris explaining treatment guidelines.

March 24, 2014

The information in this guide discusses the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNB) in early stage breast cancer. SNB is a procedure where one or a few lymph nodes are removed from under the arm and examined for evidence of cancer.

November 12, 2013

To help doctors provide their patients with the highest-quality care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued an endorsement of a guideline recently developed by Cancer Care Ontario. This guideline recommends tests and testing schedules for the follow-up care of patients who have completed treatment for colorectal cancer.

October 7, 2013

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) asks its medical experts to develop recommendations for specific areas of cancer care. In 2013, ASCO and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) issued an updated joint clinical practice guideline about human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER2) testing for breast cancer. This guide for patients is based on ASCO and CAP’s recommendations.

July 8, 2013

To help doctors provide the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) asks its medical experts to develop recommendations for specific areas of cancer care. This guideline was updated in 2013 to add new evidence about the benefits and risks of using medications (pills) as a way to lower the risk of breast cancer for women. In addition, a recommendation that doctors should discuss exemestane (Aromasin), as an alternative to tamoxifen and/or raloxifene, was added in this update. This guide is based on ASCO’s latest recommendations.

May 28, 2013

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) asks its medical experts to develop recommendations for specific areas of cancer care. In 2006, ASCO developed recommendations for fertility preservation for people with cancer. These recommendations were updated in 2013 to reflect new research and highlight the importance of fertility preservation discussions. This guide for patients is based on ASCO's recommendations.

May 13, 2013

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) asks its medical experts to develop recommendations for specific areas of cancer care. In 2007, ASCO developed a clinical practice guideline about preventing and treating blood clots for people with cancer. These recommendations were updated in 2013 to reflect new research. This guide for patients is based on ASCO's recommendations.

November 5, 2012

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations for follow-up care for patients with breast cancer. In 2012, ASCO reviewed the results of new research studies, and no changes to the recommendations were needed based on the current research findings. This guide for patients explains the ASCO recommendations.

July 16, 2012

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued a provisional clinical opinion on the use of PSA testing to screen for prostate cancer in men with no symptoms of the disease. A provisional clinical opinion offers direction to doctors and others after the publication or presentation of information that could change screening, testing, or treatment decisions.

July 9, 2012

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) developed evidence-based recommendations on sentinel lymph node biopsy for melanoma. This guide for patients is based on the ASCO and SSO recommendations. The information in this guide discusses the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNB) for Melanoma. SNB is a procedure where one or a few lymph nodes are removed from under the arm and examined for evidence of cancer.

May 20, 2012

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations on using computed tomography (CT) scans to screen for lung cancer in people who smoke or who have previously quit smoking. This guide for patients is based on the ACCP and ASCO recommendations.

April 2, 2012

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations on giving doses of chemotherapy that are based on a patient’s actual weight. This guide for patients is based on ASCO recommendations and is intended for people who are obese.

February 6, 2012

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued a provisional clinical opinion recommending that palliative care be offered along with treatment to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer for patients with metastatic (cancer that has spread) when diagnosed and those who have many or severe symptoms. A provisional clinical opinion offers direction to doctors and others who treat people with cancer after the publication or presentation of information that could change testing or treatment decisions.

September 26, 2011

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations on the use of antiemetics (drugs that prevent vomiting). These guidelines were updated in 2011 because the latest research showed better prevention of vomiting with new combinations of medications and some additional medications became available. This guide for patients receiving any type of chemotherapy or radiation therapy is based on these updated ASCO recommendations.

September 6, 2011

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued an endorsement of a guideline recently developed by Cancer Care Ontario. The guideline evaluates the benefits and risks of ovarian ablation as a treatment option for women with early-stage, invasive breast cancer who have not gone through menopause.

September 6, 2011

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations on the treatment of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. This guide for patients contains several recommendations, one of which was updated in September 2011.

July 25, 2011

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations on the usefulness of laboratory tests (called assays) to find out if a cancer might be resistant or sensitive to a specific chemotherapy treatment before it is offered to a patient. In 2011, this guideline was reviewed due to new research; this research continued to support the 2004 recommendations. This guide for patients is based on ASCO’s most recent recommendations.

June 29, 2011

Final results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) released today show 20% fewer lung cancer deaths for people screened with low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) than a with chest x-ray.

April 11, 2011

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued a provisional clinical opinion on using epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) testing to help predict the benefit of treating patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor. A provisional clinical opinion offers direction to doctors and others who treat people with cancer after the publication or presentation of information that could change testing or treatment decisions.

February 22, 2011

To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) developed evidence-based recommendations for using drugs, called bone-modifying drugs, for advanced breast cancer that has spread to the bone to help prevent bone-related problems. In 2011, this guideline was updated based on results from clinical trials of these drugs, including new information about a possible condition experienced by some people taking bone-modifying drugs. It also includes a new drug, denosumab (Xgeva), which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This guide for patients is based on ASCO’s most recent recommendations.

February 18, 2011

On February 9, 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the results of a randomized clinical trial showing that axillary dissection (the removal and analysis of the lymph nodes under the arm) for patients with breast cancer did not increase overall survival or lead to fewer recurrences (return of the cancer after treatment). All patients who participated in this study had a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and a small cancer-free margin of tissue), radiation therapy, and a sentinel lymph node biopsy that showed cancer cells in one or two underarm lymph nodes.

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