UK Markey Cancer Center selected for future cancer information service contract award

July 21, 1999

LEXINGTON, KY - The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the U.S. government's lead agency for cancer research, announced today that the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has been selected as one of 14 organizations for future contract awards to operate its Cancer Information Service (CIS). The Mid-South CIS, located at the Markey Cancer Center, will serve Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, effective Oct. 15, 1999.

The selection announced today will award a contract of $1.47 million in year one. The contract is for five years totaling $7.15 million.

Created in 1976, the CIS is the source for the latest, most accurate cancer information for the American public. The CIS provides up-to-date scientific information in understandable language, helps organizations develop education efforts to reach people who do not have easy access to cancer information and services, and studies ways to promote healthy behaviors and communicate cancer information effectively.

"The CIS is a critical resource for the American public, and we feel privileged to be able to continue to provide this service," said Thomas Tucker, acting director, Kentucky Cancer Control Program. "We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Arkansas Cancer Research Center in Little Rock, the Vanderbilt Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Mississippi Department of Health in Jackson."

Doug Wagner, project director for the Mid-South Region said the program also has undergone several improvements. "We now have the latest telephone technology so that callers can speak to a cancer information specialist without experiencing a wait or a busy signal," he said. "In addition, we have a new feature where callers can hear recorded information about cancer 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The CIS operates a toll-free telephone service (1-800-4-CANCER) where specially trained staff explain scientific information in understandable terms and answer calls from English- and Spanish-speakers and from the hearing impaired (1-800-332-8615).

"Information specialists provide thorough, personalized attention to each caller and answer questions about cancer prevention, screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and research," said Pat Schweitzer, CIS telephone service manager.

The CIS also works in partnership with organizations that reach people in particular need of cancer information and services. Efforts are focused on reaching minorities (including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Alaskan Natives) and people who are medically underserved (including older Americans and individuals living in communities lacking adequate health services or experiencing language, educational, financial or transportation barriers).

"Because one half of all U.S. households without telephones are located within our six states, we need to use a variety of strategies to reach people in need of our services," said Cheri Barnes, Mid-South Partnership program manager. "The CIS Partnership Program helps these organizations access appropriate NCI materials, reach those they serve with crucial information, plan cancer education programs and develop new or strengthen existing coalitions."
Each year, the CIS responds to more than 500,000 calls and assists 4,500 organizations nationwide with cancer education efforts.

University of Kentucky Medical Center

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