NIH Press Release
National Cancer Institute

Tuesday, Apr. 22, 1997
10:30 A.M. Eastern Time

Kim Bell, Assoc. of Oncology Social Workers
(410) 614-3990
Ann Navarria, Cancer Care, Inc.
(212) 221-3300, Ext. 221
NCI Press Office
(301) 496-6641

Importance of Psychosocial Support for Cancer Patients Recognized;
New Partnership Will Share Resources and Information

The Association of Oncology Social Workers (AOSW), Cancer Care, Inc., and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have joined together to increase both the awareness of psychosocial issues faced by cancer patients and the resources available to support patients who are living with this disease. Apart from having to cope with physical and medical challenges, people with cancer face many worries, feelings, and new concerns that can make life difficult. The support of the health care team, support groups, and patient-to-patient networks can help people with cancer feel less isolated and distressed and improve the quality of their lives.

"Although science has made great progress against cancer, a cancer diagnosis continues to awaken fear and trepidation," said Diane Blum, executive director of Cancer Care, Inc. "Providing support to these patients and their families is a critical step in dealing with cancer and a key component in the quality of life of patients."

This partnership will work to raise awareness of patients and family members, health professionals who treat cancer patients, and organizations that provide services to patients that the quality of life of cancer patients can be improved. "The partnership will strengthen the role of social workers as a part of a comprehensive team for cancer patients," said Susan Stensland, president of AOSW, "and provide them with resources for helping patients by sharing the materials, services, and contacts available from each partner."

"The recent drop in cancer death rates marks a turning point from the steady increase we have seen throughout much of the century," noted NCI Director Richard D. Klausner, M.D. "As treatment becomes increasingly effective in the coming years, we will need partnerships like this to renew our commitment to improve the quality of life for those who develop cancer."

AOSW is a nonprofit, international organization of more than 800 oncology social work professionals. Its mission is to promote excellence in psychosocial oncology by educating the public and increasing awareness of the impact of cancer; offering professional education programs that support clinical, administrative, and research skill development; advocating for programs and policies that provide psychosocial care to patients and families; and providing resources to its members. AOSW's web site,, provides additional information about the organization's activities.

Cancer Care, Inc. is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, social service agency founded in 1944 to help cancer patients and their loved ones cope with the impact of cancer. It is the largest agency in the nation solely dedicated to providing emotional and financial support to cancer patients and their families, and community education for the general public. Assistance is provided through 11 offices in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut; through Cancer Care's web site, and through a national toll-free line, 1-800-813-HOPE.

The National Cancer Institute is the federal government's primary cancer research agency. The Cancer Information Service is NCI's nationwide information and education network. The CIS meets the information needs of patients, the public, and health professionals. Specially trained staff provide the latest in scientific information in understandable language. In addition, individual CIS offices serve specific geographic areas and have information about cancer-related services and resources in their region. The CIS, which can be reached at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237), responds to calls in English and Spanish. People with TTY equipment may call 1-800-332-8615.

Cancer Information Service
The Cancer Information Service (CIS), a national information and education network, is a free public service of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the federal government's primary agency for cancer research. The CIS meets the information needs of patients, the public, and health professionals. Specially trained staff provide the latest scientific information in understandable language. CIS staff answer questions in English and Spanish and distribute NCI materials.

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