“The most important piece of advice is to take GVHD seriously, but not panic,” said Alison W. Loren, MD, MSCE, Director, Blood & Marrow Transplant, Cell Therapy & Transplant Program, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Vice-Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. “GVHD is very common yet poorly understood, even by physicians. Hopefully, this book brings some order to the chaos by sharing evidence and uniformity. Treatment guidelines, if used effectively, will limit the severity and duration of people suffering from GVHD.”
Drs. Saad and Loren stressed the importance of transplant recipients talking to their doctor about anything that feels different after the procedure, even years later, especially issues including:
Jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes)
Dry eyes or mouth
GVHD can be life-threatening in rare situations, but certainly can impact quality of life. GVHD may be reversible when addressed early. For years, the main treatment was steroids but recent clinical trials have led to new standards of care. Ongoing research will hopefully further improve techniques for both prevention and cure.
“NCCN believes that the best management of any patient with cancer is a clinical trial,” said Dr. Loren. “Some trials require that patients haven’t received any previous treatment, so it’s important to bring it up right away and not miss the opportunity for the best possible care while also adding to our knowledge about how the immune system works.”
NCCN Guidelines for Patients empower patients and caregivers with an easy-to-read version of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®)—the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer care. NCCN Guidelines for Patients feature charts, images, and a glossary of medical terms—and include suggested questions to ask the doctor.
Learn more and help support these and other resources for people with cancer and their caregivers at NCCN.org/foundation.
About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and researchcollaboration and publication in oncology. Visit NCCN.org for more information and follow NCCN on Facebook @NCCNorg, Instagram @NCCNorg, and Twitter @NCCN.
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 NCCN.org/foundation.
1 Arai S, Arora M, Wang T, et al. Increasing incidence of chronic graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic transplantation: a report from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2015 Feb;21(2):266-74. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25445023.