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National Cancer Information Contact Center a Valuable Resource
For 35 years, NCI’s CIS Contact Center has been just a phone call away for anyone with questions about cancer. Since it was established in 1975, the CIS has answered well over 10 million calls. Whether an individual has been diagnosed with cancer or they have a loved one with cancer, the service is available free of charge.
“Cancer touches the lives of so many, and having caring, highly trained, and sensitive cancer information specialists available to answer questions and provide information may be what that person needs to be able to make informed decisions about their care,” said Mary Anne Bright, associate director of NCI’s Office of Public Information and Resource Management.
NCI’s CIS is located at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, where a staff of 66 information specialists with backgrounds such as nursing and social work respond to thousands of calls, LiveHelp chats, and e-mails each year.
Over the years, the CIS has gone through multiple transformations to become what it is today. Bilingual information specialists who cater to Spanish-speaking callers first joined the CIS over 25 years ago. And the CIS Contact Center now is available to the public for longer hours (8:00 a.m. ET to 8:00 p.m. ET), offering help and information to more people. In addition to calling 1-800-4-CANCER, one can chat online with information specialists using LiveHelp, send a question via e-mail, and even ask questions on NCI’s recently launched Facebook page.
The Contact Center deals with people holistically. From the symptoms they may be having, to financial questions, to directing people to information that their health care providers may be too busy to provide.