BETHESDA, Md. — Oct. 3, 2001 — For the past 25 years, the Cancer Information Service has provided the latest, most accurate information about cancer to patients, their families and the public. The Cancer Information Service equips people with the reliable, science-based information they need to become active participants in their own health care — from prevention and early detection to treatment and survivorship. The Cancer Information Service (CIS) is marking this milestone anniversary with the theme, Celebrating Our Spirit of Caring and Commitment.
"The Cancer Information Service commitment to excellence in information dissemination sets the gold standard for all health agencies," says Dr. Alan Rabson, deputy director of the National Cancer Institute. "They are committed to providing information in a way that patients, caregivers, and the public can easily understand."
The CIS serves cancer patients and their families, the public and health professionals through 14 regional offices located throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The office that serves the Pacific Region (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) is located at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Through the toll-free information service (1-800-4-CANCER) the CIS has helped nearly 9 million callers since its inception in 1976. Calls are answered in English and Spanish and from the deaf and hard-of-hearing through TTY (1-800-332-8615).
In addition to the toll-free 1-800-4-CANCER service, the CIS began helping people in 2001 by providing one-on-one assistance through LiveHelp on various NCI websites, such as CancerNet and CancerTrials. LiveHelp allows NCI website users to communicate with information specialists using chat technology.
The CIS Partnership Program, established in 1990, collaborates with other cancer and health-related organizations to develop appropriate education programs that reach out to minority and medically underserved groups in need of cancer information. Located in 38 offices across the country, staff members help organizations plan and implement effective programs.
"Working in partnership with other organizations increases the ability of both organizations to reach more people with potentially lifesaving information," says Mary Anne Bright, acting chief of the Cancer Information Service. "National partnerships with organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Intercultural Cancer Council have proven to be quite effective."
Most recently, the CIS has instituted a Research Initiative to study ways to improve the way cancer information is delivered to patients, family members, and the public. With its direct link to thousands of callers, the CIS is an ideal health communications research laboratory. CIS regional offices participate in studies on how to effectively communicate with people about healthy behaviors, health risks, and ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Over the past 25 years, the CIS has adapted to meet the changing information needs of cancer patients, caregivers and the public. In coming years, the CIS plans to continue its commitment to educating people about cancer prevention, screening, treatment and research.
"The future of the CIS looks bright," reflects Bright. "As we celebrate our past, we are renewing our dedication to helping people become informed participants in their own health care."
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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of three Nobel laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, UW Medicine and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 40 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's website at www.fhcrc.org.