Introduction to the CIS Toolbox

Starting a CIS is a challenging but exciting venture. The toolbox for starting a CIS will help guide your decisions around how to organize and manage your Cancer Information Service. We highly recommend using the Needs Assessment Tool as it will help you conduct a basic assessment of the needs and proposed structure.  

Who is this tool box for?

The Cancer Information Service (CIS) Tool Box is for anyone or any organization planning to start or presently operating a service giving credible one to one cancer information. It is based on the experience, policies and materials of cancer organizations worldwide that offer cancer information services. As this tool box aims to be useful to both established and CIS who are just starting out, you may find some sections more useful than others.

What’s in this tool box?

The toolbox contains the supplemental materials and resources referred to in the informational pages on starting a CIS. These supplemental resources add detailed information and real-world examples to the information in the “Start A CIS” pages, including:

  • Specific information on how to start and manage a CIS
  • What to consider when selecting different channels to deliver your service (telephone, email or through social media)
  • Samples of materials that organizations are using for their cancer information services
  • Practical lessons learned by members of the International Cancer Information Service Group (ICISG)


What’s in the “Start A CIS” informational section?

Planning for a CIS

Starting and Managing a CIS

Creating Your Operating Guidelines

Creating Your Policies and Procedures

Staffing and Training

Facilities and Equipment

Resources Needed to Operate a CIS

Promoting Your CIS

Other Considerations


Supplemental Tools for Starting A CIS

Needs Assessment Tool

Sample of a Strategic Plan

The Process of a Call

A Guide to Responding to Emailed and Written Enquiries

Sample Interview Questions for Hiring CIS Staff

Creating Your Operating Guidelines

Using Disclaimer Statements with Clients 

Telephone Service Satisfaction Survey

Email Service Satisfaction Survey

Checklist for Writing Email Responses to CIS Clients