I just heard from Gary Kreps, Professor of Health Communication at George Mason University and e-patient pioneer, reporting about drastic cutbacks to the Cancer Information Service programs. Excellent up-to-date information is an important foundation for Participatory Medicine. The National Cancer Act mandated that the National Cancer Institute provide the latest cancer information to the general public. To do this, NCI should be expanding the Cancer Information Service, not slashing its programs. The CIS has been an invaluable resource for many of us.
We are in an economic time when any discretionary spending should be considered very carefully. But new cancer diagnoses will continue, in good times and in bad. We will need to spend money on this problem one way or another. I suspect that widely disseminating the best information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer is one of the most cost-effective investments we can make in this area. If you agree, you may want to help mobilize congressional support.
By the way, for those of you who know Gary, he is in Milan for the month teaching a seminar on Communication and Cancer at the University of Milan. He is an expert on the research surrounding the impact of the major cancer information deficits in our society, and surrounding the power of quality information to improve outcomes. If you haven’t had a chance to hear him speak, do.