Cancer Information Service activities in Japan

The Center for Cancer Control and Information Services, National Cancer Center was launched in 2006. Department of Cancer Information Service (DCIS) continues to act as a hub that brings together the over 2,000 specialists deployed at 427 Cancer Information & Support Centers (CISCs) nationwide, with bi-annual conference for prefectural CISC network leaders, where we seek to showcase the latest set of best practices.

The specialist cancer counselors that staff the nationwide network of CISC’s undergo both online training (eLearning curriculums delivered via a site we operate) and on-site group training sessions. In 2015, we began a cancer information & support counselor certification scheme, so that the training opportunities afforded to CICS-deployed counselors in nationally designated regional cancer centers, are available to other hospitals who have committed to set up a Cancer information & support team on their premises. This potentially opens an avenue for qualified cancer information counselors to be deployed at additional 300 prefecture-designated cancer care facilities. Under this new scheme, 216 new counselors were certified in FY2016 alone.

DCIS has spearheaded efforts to encourage both networking and active collaboration among CISC professionals in neighboring prefectures. In many regions of the country, multiple prefectural CISC networks have come together to jointly organize both skill enhancing opportunities and to share best practices, Regional CISC networks have proven their strength in tenuous times as well, mostly recently, with more than 100 CISCs in the Kyushu region, quickly collaborating to establish a unified repository of information that would aid cancer patients from earthquake stricken Kumamoto region (M6.5 and M7.3 in April 2016), find a facility where they could continue their treatment, fill their prescriptions, and get individual counseling support. In the Kumamoto case, the widely shared repository was used by various medical professionals outside the traditional CISC network, who would otherwise have been at loss as to where their patients, often with multiple conditions including cancer, could continue to receive appropriate care.

Submitted by: Tomoko Takayama, Chief of Division of Cancer Information Service, Center for Cancer Control and Information Services, National Cancer Center, Japan