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J Health Commun. 1998;3 Suppl:86-96.

Coping with cancer: the impact of the Cancer Information Service on patients and significant others. Part 6.

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  • 1Cancer Information Service, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA. darrow@sc3102.med.buffalo.edu


The Cancer Information Service (CIS) has been the voice of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for more than 20 years. In 1997, the CIS telephone service received 14,689 inquiries from the public about coping with cancer and its consequences (total calls = 500,000). In a random sample survey of 2,489 CIS callers conducted in 1996, respondents who stated they called the CIS for coping information were asked to evaluate the information provided by the CIS, overall satisfaction with this information, and what impact this information had on patients and significant others. Most of those who called about coping were not the patients (33%) themselves; rather, they were significant others of patients (spouses/partners [21%], parents [16%], friends/coworkers [11%], other family [19%], other [9%]). The information received was new to most callers (> or = 93%). Respondents were satisfied with the information (92%) and felt the CIS information specialist was knowledgeable (95%) and trustworthy (96%). Respondents (patients/significant others) stated that the information made it easier to adjust to the illness (52%/80%), reassured them (68%/69%), and helped them find community support (34%/39%). Patients and significant others evaluated the CIS information exchange differently; significant others rated it higher than did patients. Results indicated that the CIS model of health communications had a positive impact on persons coping with a diagnosis of cancer. Further research is needed to understand how the information needs of patients differ from those of their significant others, and training is needed to tailor the information exchange to meet those unique needs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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