The Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Service responds to its one-millionth request for information
04 August 2011
Today, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) celebrates an important milestone in its history as its Cancer Information Service (CIS) responds to its one-millionth information request.
The CIS is a national, bilingual, toll-free service established in 1996 that provides comprehensive and reliable information about cancer and community resources to cancer patients, their families, the general public, and healthcare professionals in a personalized and confidential manner. The phone service is available in English and French 5 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round; information is also provided in 120 other languages through interpreters.
“Over the past 15 years, the Cancer Information Service has addressed over one million requests for information about cancer and provided invaluable support to people in Quebec who face the disease and everything it entails,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director of the Quebec Division of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Fear, anxiety, helplessness and anger are some of the distressing feelings that people with cancer experience. They have a lot of questions about the disease, ranging from prevention to screening to treatment and beyond. This is where the Cancer Information Service comes in, and we are very happy to provide this essential service to the population.”
Who responds to the inquiries?
The CIS’s cancer information specialists are located at four call centres in Canada, including one in Montreal that addresses all French-language inquiries from across the country. Last year, the team at the Montreal CIS Centre addressed 16,268 requests for information.
CIS’s personnel are highly qualified specialists who have access to multiple resources enabling them to answer most cancer-related questions on the phone or by e-mail. They also send information by mail or e-mail and frequently make follow-up calls, based on their conversations. Most inquiries come from people with cancer, but also from family members, caregivers and even healthcare professionals.
What types of questions does the Cancer Information Service respond to?
Cancer information specialists answer questions about:
- All types of cancer
- Cancer treatment and side effects
- Clinical trials
- Coping with cancer
- Support and services available at the CCS and in the community
- Complementary and alternative therapies
Over the years, the CIS has developed the Canadian Cancer Encyclopedia™, an extensive database containing comprehensive cancer information that is reviewed on a regular basis by recognized experts. The Canadian Cancer Encyclopedia contains 60 chapters, of which 41 are available online. In 2008, France’s Institut National du Cancer purchased access rights to the French-language version of this tool.
What are the most frequently asked questions answered by the CIS?
- “I have to go in for a diagnostic test. What can I expect? What’s the test for, exactly?”
- “I have to travel from (location) to the radiation therapy centre. How will I pay for transportation costs? Is there a transportation service? Where will I stay during treatment?”
- “Someone in my family has just been diagnosed with cancer. I went online but couldn’t find any information. Can you help me?”
- The most frequently asked questions are on breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and metastatic cancer.
How can I reach the Cancer Information Service?
Toll free: 1 888 939-3333
Service is available Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. across the country.
- Many people who have called on the CIS are available to share their experience.
- A CIS cancer information specialist/coordinator is available for interviews.
- Tours of the Montreal CIS Centre can be arranged.
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.