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Division of Cancer Information Service

Members

Chief

Tomoko Takayama

Section Head

Masayo Hayakawa, Chikako Yamaki

Researcher

Ayako Ishikawa, Akiko Urakubo, Otome Kinoshita, Yuki Nakatani

Visiting Researcher

Yumi Iwamitsu

Nurse

Tomoko Takahashi, Masayo Sakurai, Eimi Sawai, Kumiko Shiga

Educational Program Staff

Yuko Ogo

Administrator

Ayumi Kishimoto

Assisting Staff

Yukako Urata, Aki Oku, Kaoru Takai, Satoshi Takisawa, Mizuho Maruyama, Mina Nakajima, Kaori Shioda, Jun Nakamachi

Line of service

We have continued to enhance and update “Ganjoho.jp” (Link to Gan Joho Service), the nation's trusted source of cancer information with 1,500 new pages (159,601 pages as of the end of CY2015), and annual usage is now at 31.9 million PV. Our library of patient education publications has added two new titles, and 6 of the existing 87 titles in circulation have now been updated. Contents by cancer type and regional cancer information resources have also been updated extensively. All of our patient education publications, in either booklet or pamphlet formats, are available for free downloads online and hard copies are disseminated via a bulk order printing scheme, which has made it more cost effective for cancer care facilities and related healthcare providers of all sizes. These publications are now available via 795 facilities nationwide, with over 1 million copies distributed nationwide in the course of CY2015 alone, an 11% increase over the previous year.

Division of Cancer Information Service (DCIS) continues to act as a hub that brings together the over 2,000 specialists that man the 424 Cancer Information & Support Centers (CISCs) deployed nationwide, with a bi-annual conference for prefectural CISC leadership, where we seek not only to allow the practitioners to share the latest set of best practices but also, starting in 2015, we have belatedly begun the process of better assessing our effectiveness on a more systematic basis.

The DCIS Contact Center, now in its 5th year of operation, has accommodated 2,870 calls during the calendar year, with monthly call volumes that have experienced a 46% increase over the last CY, and are fielding an increasing number of calls from patients with rare forms of cancer.

Research activities

As part of our efforts to reduce the disparity of cancer information access, pilot research programs are on-going in the following areas: 1) Assessing the nature of cancer information access for patients with visual impairments and hearing disabilities, 2) Multi-modal cancer information delivery models for patients with visual impairments, 3) Use of radio broadcast dramas to encourage patients and families with lower net literacy to make use of manned cancer information resources. Further research will aim to determine both efficacy and cost effectiveness of such delivery and dissemination models, as an integral part of the broader efforts to reduce cancer disparity.

Nurturing professionals

The specialist cancer counselors who staff the nationwide network of CISC's undergo both online training (eLearning curriculums delivered via a site we operate) and on-site group training sessions. A newly introduced certification scheme has now made it possible for cancer counselors in hospitals outside the fold of the MHW-Designation (nationally orchestrated regional cancer center designation) schemes to undergo the same set of fundamental training, and to receive certifications. This potentially opens an avenue for cancer information counselors to be deployed at upwards of 300 prefecture-designated cancer care hospitals, above and beyond and 440 nationally designated locations.

DCIS has spearheaded efforts to encourage regional networking of CISC professionals, so that a more frequent and more pertinent mix of skill enhancing opportunities are made available to a broader set of professionals in this still nascent field. During 2015, various workshops and public education forums were conducted in cities as far afield as Nagasaki, Shimane, Mie and Fukuoka.

Our media education initiatives are now in their eighth year, with four theme conferences held during 2015, and we have stepped up our initiatives to raise public awareness of the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship, by focusing on “Working with Cancer” in conjunction with related national initiatives to ensure more cancer patients can return to their workplace.

Future prospects

DCIS remains committed to our stated aims of bringing more accurate and reliable information to patients, families, caregivers, as well as healthcare practitioners, in a context-sensitive manner. Towards this goal, our initiatives will focus not only on enhancing the set of information disseminated via our various channels, but also on enhancing delivery channels to cater to the needs of those patients and families for whom self-service channels are either inaccessible, or do not adequately meet their unique set of needs and circumstances. Raising awareness of the services provided at CISCs, and making them more accessible, particularly in regions were cancer stigma still runs high, are among our priorities in ensuring that cancer information dissemination helps drive reduction of cancer health disparities.

List of papers published in 2015

Journal

  1. Seki Y, Takayama T, Yamaki C. Evaluating the Cancer Information Service - a qualitative study of evaluation criteria for the telephone service in Japan. Journal of Saitama University. Faculty of Education, 64:145-154, 2015