If you were worried you had cancer, who would you call for information? Chances are a federally-funded cancer helpline isn’t the first place that pops into your mind.
But for 40 years, a helpline funded primarily by the National Cancer Institute has been answering people’s questions about cancer.
It’s a source of information for people who have been called back for a follow-up after routine screenings and are worried they might have cancer. And it can also help cancer patients get information about participating in clinical trials and help them figure out questions to ask their doctors.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle runs the Contact Center, which is funded mostly by the National Cancer Institute with some support from the Veteran’s Administration. Last month, the NCI awarded Fred Hutch a $24 million, three-year contract to continue operating the helpline.
“There will be about 1.7 million Americans diagnosed with cancer this year. For many of them, access to good information can be the difference between life and death,” says Peter Garrett, a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute.