New Patient Resource from NCCN Helps People with Bladder Cancer Make Informed Treatment Decisions

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

New NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Bladder Cancer explains the lengthy surveillance process
that follows active treatment for the sixth most-common cancer in the United States.

The treatment landscape for bladder cancer has changed dramatically over the past few years. Despite being the sixth most common cancer in the United States, and fourth most common for men—impacting an estimated 81,000 Americans every year1—for decades there were minimal treatment advances. However, largely thanks to an engaged advocacy community and new clinical trials, there has been a surge of new therapeutic options approved inthe last few years. As a result, the need for understandable
information about of these new care choices, geared towards patients and caregivers, is greater than ever. That’s why the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) today announced the newly-published NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Bladder Cancer, created with funding through the NCCN Foundation®. The guidelines have been endorsed by the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN), the American Bladder Cancer Society, and the Urology Care Foundation.

“Having patients who are engaged in their care is really beneficial for both providers and patients,” explained Thomas Flaig, MD, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Chair, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) Panel for Bladder Cancer. “These new guidelines prepare patients for the reality that after surgery or intravesical treatment delivered directly to the bladder via catheter, they will remain under regular surveillance for a long time. Bladder cancer can come back years later, so we have to be vigilant.”

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Bladder Cancer are based on the evidence and expert- consensus from the NCCN Guidelines®. The recommendations are determined by a multidisciplinary panel of bladder cancer experts from across the 28 NCCN Member Institutions. Treatment options are presented in user-friendly terms in the patient guidelines, complete with glossary, illustrations, suggested questions for the provider, and a space to take notes.

“There have been five new drug approvals for bladder cancer in the last few years, and increasing clinical trial participation has been key to these advances. We’ve definitely turned a corner, and it’s very rewarding to see,” said Dr. Flaig. “The patient advocacy community has played an integral role in that progress, and we all need to keep up the momentum. For instance, we have more to learn about the role of checkpoint inhibitors, which are clearly active in bladder cancers. As we conduct more trials, we’re able to have a better understanding of how best to use these new tools to treat bladder cancer.”

“I have interacted with hundreds of my fellow survivors and know that we struggle to understand our diagnosis, our status, and our treatment options,” said Rick Bangs, bladder cancer patient advocate for SWOG Cancer Research Network and the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Bladder Cancer. “The NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Bladder Cancer is unique in translating the highly respected NCCN Guidelines used by doctors and insurance companies into patient-friendly language that patients, partners, caregivers, and families can use to decide what to do and when, across their bladder cancer journey. We are fortunate to live in a time when these guidelines are changing rapidly, powered by strong patient advocacy, industry innovation, compelling clinical trials, and engaged patients. Members of the National Clinical Trial Network, including SWOG, its National Cancer Institute partners, and our industry collaborators continue to work tirelessly to raise the bar with clinical trials that can lead to changes in the NCCN Guidelines.”

In addition to treatment options, the patient guidelines provide background information about the disease, including that bladder cancers are generally diagnosed in people in their 70s who are likely to have other health issues, and that it is far more common in men than women. Avoiding smoking tobacco is key for the prevention of bladder cancer, and evidence suggests generally staying hydrated can also be beneficial.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients are available free-of-charge online at, or via the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer app. Print versions can be purchased at for a small fee.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick GuideTM sheets DO NOT replace the expertise and clinical judgment of the clinician.

About the NCCN Foundation The NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. The NCCN Foundation empowers people with cancer and their caregivers by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. The NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research. For more information about the NCCN Foundation, visit

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. By defining and advancing high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers around the world.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA; Dana- Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, Birmingham, AL; Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA;; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center,

Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit Patients and caregivers, visit Media, visit Follow NCCN on Twitter @NCCN, Facebook @NCCNorg, and Instagram @NCCNorg.

About SWOG Cancer Research Network SWOG Cancer Research Network is a global cancer research community that designs and conducts clinical trials funded by the National Cancer Institute. SWOG was created in 1956, and SWOG clinical trials have led to approvals for 14 cancer drugs, changed the standard of care that guidelines like the NCCN Guidelines reflect more than one hundred times, and have saved more than 3 million years of life by testing new treatments, new prevention strategies, and new ways to care for those who survive cancer.