NIH Press Release
National Cancer Institute

Saturday, Oct. 5, 1996

NCI Press Office
(301) 496-6641

Four Programs Receive Grants to Develop
Model Cancer Survivorship Programs for Minority Populations

Four innovative cancer survivorship programs for minority populations received special awards from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service (CIS), and Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology at the 10th anniversary meeting of the NCCS in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The four outstanding programs, People Living Through Cancer in Albuquerque, N.M., Women Achieving Victory and Esteem in Detroit, Mich., Celebration of Living in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Sisters Network based in Houston, Texas, will each receive $5,000 to strengthen their current programs and develop a program model that can be adapted for use by other minority cancer survivor groups.

"The goal of this project is to enhance the quality of cancer survivorship programs for survivors in minority populations. The financial and technical support will enable these exemplary programs to develop models to be shared with the growing number of cancer survivorship programs nationwide," said Ellen L. Stovall, executive director of NCCS.

"With advances in research improving cancer treatment and care, we need to pay attention to the long-term needs of cancer survivors," said NCI Director Richard D. Klausner, M.D. "These four innovative programs have proven track records in bringing information and resources to minority populations to enhance quality of life for survivors. Added CIS Chief Chris Thomsen, AThe CIS recognized a serious shortage of programs to meet the special needs of minority cancer survivors. In partnership with NCCS, CIS is the perfect vehicle to bring the expertise of these four programs to a broader community of minority cancer survivors nationwide.

Each of the three sponsoring organizations is committed to cancer survivorship and offers specialized expertise and assistance. The NCCS is a coalition of individuals, cancer support organizations, hospitals and treatment centers working in the area of cancer survivorship and support. One of its primary goals is to generate nationwide awareness of survivorship. NCCS will assist the award winners and the CIS in developing the program models and distributing them to newly forming survivorship programs.

NCI's Cancer Information Service is a nationwide telephone information and education network celebrating 20 years of service. More than 600,000 people each year call the CIS toll-free telephone service at 1-800-4-CANCER. In addition, CIS's outreach program, which makes special efforts to reach underserved audiences, touched 19 million lives last year with information on cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. NCI also recently established an Office of Cancer Survivorship to explore the long-term physical, psychosocial, and economic needs of cancer survivors.

The four award winning programs will work with the CIS to develop effective methods to increase awareness of the CIS toll-free number in minority communities.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology initially demonstrated its commitment to cancer patients by offering a $5,000 educational grant to support exceptional cancer survivorship programs. After learning about the strong response from the survivorship community, Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology significantly increased its commitment by providing four grants rather than one. "Bristol-Myers Squibb didn't hesitate when it saw the quality of the programs that applied for funding. They have been a great partner in this outreach effort," noted Stovall.

For information on how to start a cancer survivorship program, call the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship at 301-650-8868.

Award-Winning Minority Cancer Survivorship Programs

Each of these programs has demonstrated a strong commitment to minority populations and an ability to develop a model that can be adopted by other survivorship programs. Each winner will receive a $5,000 grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology and technical support from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service.

  • Celebration of Living
    A church-based African American support group.
    The Eagles Foundation: National Black Church Family Council (NBCFC), Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Celebration of Living is a new cancer survivor outreach program for African Americans, based on NBCFC's strong track record of providing training and health education materials to a network of ministers and church leaders in over 100 churches who are developing grass-roots health prevention activities for the underserved and isolated communities in rural Alabama. Based on the lack of support programs for cancer survivors in this area, NBCFC will expand its mission to include a church-based cancer survivorship program. Five churches in Tuscaloosa County will participate in this project to enhance and utilize social support to allow cancer survivors to cope better with the challenges associated with a cancer diagnosis.

  • People Living Through Cancer (PLTC)
    A multifaceted program for cancer survivors
    Founded in 1983 in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Peer support is the foundation of all PLTC programs, which include: 15 cancer support groups in the Albuquerque area; an American Indian program serving nine pueblos; Hispanic and African American support networks; a Telephone Lifeline providing immediate support, information and referrals; a quarterly Living Through Cancer Journal; two resource libraries (one specifically for pueblo residents); a three-day training program for local support volunteers; a five-day national training for American Indian survivors starting survivorship programs in their communities; and an annual survivorship conference. The organization's five founding Board members -- all cancer survivors -- created peer support programs in homes and churches. From this grass-roots beginning, the organization has grown to serve thousands of New Mexicans each year. Although the program has had significant success in its outreach programs, PLTC would like to increase participation among members of the state's heterogeneous Hispanic population.

  • Sisters Network
    African American Breast Cancer Survivors Support Group
    Founded in 1994 in Houston, Texas
  • With seven chapters nationwide, the Sisters Network empowers African American breast cancer survivors with the desire and knowledge to achieve a better quality of life. Services provided through the Sisters Network include emotional and psychological support; in-home sister-to-sister support; participation in community awareness programs; a speakers bureau; and a national newsletter serving as a link between African American communities and the medical establishment. Chapters nationwide work cooperatively with local organizations to reach minority women. Activities include the Gift for Life Block Walk (during which information and mammography coupons are distributed to women in underserved communities) and the annual Pink Ribbon Campaign in October to promote breast cancer awareness. The Sisters Network plans to improve communication between chapters and expand the program in the African American community.

  • WAVE (Women Achieving Victory & Esteem)
    A cancer support group for African American women
    Karmanos Cancer Institute, founded in 1994 in Detroit, Michigan
  • Until the formation of WAVE, no support group existed in metropolitan Detroit to meet the unique needs of African American women. The purpose of the group is to provide support and up-to-date, accurate cancer education to women of color in an accessible, culturally sensitive environment. WAVE has served more than 140 black women, with the majority returning regularly to participate in the program on the last Thursday of each month. Meetings often feature invited speakers who provide information on such topics as: What you need to know about radiation therapy, demonstrations on breast prosthetic fitting, listening to your inner voice, and managing the financial demands of treatment. Strategies are being developed to reach and welcome women diagnosed with any form of cancer into the program.

    The Cancer Information Service provides a nationwide telephone service for cancer patients and their families, the public, and health care professionals. The toll-free number is 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237); services provided in English and Spanish. People with TTY equipment may call 1-800-332-8615.

    This document is available through the NCI's CancerNet services on the Web ( and through Cancer Fax (dial 301-402-5874 from the handset on your fax machine).