“I just found out yesterday that I have brain cancer. I spent over an hour at the doctor’s office and cannot remember anything he told be about my prognosis and the treatment. I’m so scared and I don’t know how to tell my children or my family. I feel like I’m going crazy. … Is this normal?”
Calls such as this one are placed to the AMC Cancer Center’s Cancer Information and Counseling Line several times a day by people seeking help and support with a variety of cancer-related concerns.
There are an estimated 10 million cancer survivors in the United States. Cancer patients and their families face many challenges, from coping with the initial diagnosis to making decisions about treatments. They may struggle with treatment side effects, communication issues with loved ones and health care providers, and practical concerns like child care and financial hardships.
The Cancer Information and Counseling Line, also called CICL, is a nonprofit, toll-free service. It has been providing emotional support, specialized counseling and cancer information to thousands of people across the country for nearly 25 years.
Each call is assessed by a cancer information and triage specialist who is able to help the caller with detailed resource information. Callers also are given the option of talking to one of the professional counselors, who give supportive, practical guidance on how to cope with the emotional toll a cancer diagnosis can take.
All of the counselors have master’s degrees and extensive experience in psychosocial counseling of cancer patients and their significant others. Each counseling session is focused on meeting the needs of the caller.
In addition to information supplied over the phone, the AMC Cancer Research Center has an extensive library of cancer-related materials that can be mailed to callers upon request.
The CICL is funded by private donations. As health care continues to evolve, the CICL hopes to expand to meet the growing emotional and informational needs of people affected by cancer.
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