What is a Cancer Information Service (CIS?)

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A Cancer Information Service (CIS) is a service created to meet the cancer information needs of the public. Although it may be provided alongside or in conjunction with emotional support and counselling services, a CIS is primarily about giving good quality, one to one information about cancer in response to people’s questions.

A CIS can be provided by phone, email, SMS (short message service) text, online 1-2-1 chat or through social media (e.g. Facebook). The most appropriate channels for an individual service will be influenced by its resources, how the populations it aim to serve are most likely to want to access information, and the skills of its CIS staff.

CIS services may be delivered by volunteers, paid employees, health professionals or lay staff. Since the fundamental principle of a CIS is the provision of good quality information, staff delivering the services must be adequately trained and supported and quality assurance measures must be in place to ensure a good quality service is delivered.

A CIS does not give medical advice and does not take the place of a doctor, but helps the user understand cancer and their individual situation.

A CIS may be a standalone service or may be part of a larger organisation with broader responsibilities such as cancer support, research, academia or delivery of care.

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