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HOME > Publication & Reports > Annual Report 2016 > Center for Cancer Control and Information Services

Division of Cancer Information Service (DCIS)

Tomoko Takayama, Masayo Hayakawa, Chikako Yamaki, Ayako Ishikawa, Akiko Urakubo, Yuki Nakatani, Tomoko Takahashi, Yoshimi Sasaki, Tomoko Ono, Masayo Sakurai, Eimi Sawai, Yuko Ogo, Ayumi Kishimoto, Yukako Urata, Harue Suzuki, Satoshi Takisawa, Mizuho Maruyama, Mina Nakajima, Kaori Shioda, Jun Nakamachi

Lines of service

We have continued to enhance and update "Ganjoho.jp", the nation's trusted source of cancer information with 1,321 new pages (17,282 pages as of the end of CY2016), and annual usage is now at 28.5million PV. Our library of patient education publications has added two new titles, and four of the existing 68 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 786 facilities, with over one million copies distributed nationwide in the course of CY2016 alone, a 17% increase over the previous year.

The Division of Cancer Information Service (DCIS) continues to act as a hub that brings together the over 2,000 specialists that run the 427 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 began the process of better assessing our effectiveness on a more systematic basis.

The DCIS Contact Center, now in its sixth year of operation, has accommodated 3,171 calls during the calendar year, with monthly call volumes that have experienced 10% increase over the last CY. The center also supports nationwide CISCs with expedited search for hospitals that have credentials treating rare cancers.

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, and 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 that staff the nationwide network of CISC's undergo both online training (e-learning curriculums delivered via a site we operate) and on-site group training sessions. We have 34 lectures, six new and seven updated lectures for this fiscal year.

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. In this scheme, 213 certified cancer counselors and 14 certified CISCs were born in 2016.

The 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 2016, various workshops and public education forums including networking with public libraries were conducted in cities as far afield as Miyagi, Tokyo, Oita, and Iwate.

Our media education initiatives are now in their nineth year, with four theme conferences held during 2016.

Future prospects

The DCIS remains committed to our stated aim 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 their 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 where cancer stigma still runs high, are among our priorities in ensuring that cancer information dissemination help drive the reduction of cancer health disparities.