Patient-centered communication in cancer care: the role of the NCI's Cancer Information Service

J Cancer Educ. 2011 Mar;26(1):36-43. doi: 10.1007/s13187-010-0121-y.


While patient-centered care and the reduction of suffering due to cancer are primary goals of the NCI, improvement in the delivery of patient-centered communication has been identified as a key NCI research priority. As research on patient-centered communication evolves, the potential contributions of programs such as the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Cancer Information Service (CIS) cannot be overlooked. The purpose of this paper is to describe how the six core functions of patient-clinician communication described in the literature (fostering healing relationships, exchanging information, responding to emotions, managing uncertainty, making decisions and enabling patient-self management) are embedded in the work of the CIS. The communication process used by the CIS to extend the patient-centered communication role of the clinician will be discussed. CIS training and quality management systems will be described. Lastly, suggestions for the role of CIS in future health information delivery and research will be explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Communication*
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Information Services / organization & administration*
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data
  • National Cancer Institute (U.S.)
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • United States