FRIDAY, MAR. 9: The cancer journey is often complex and can be confusing and overwhelming for patients and families.

Brenda learned she had ovarian cancer while she was sitting alone in her car in the parking lot at the grocery store.

It was early evening on a Friday, and her doctor called to tell her the results of a biopsy.

“He just gave me my results and that was it,” said Brenda.

“It was like there was this big knot in my throat. I was lost, and I didn’t know what to do. 

“I would have to wait until my follow up appointment next week to learn what this meant.”

Searching on the Internet for more information about the disease, Brenda came across the telephone number of the Bermuda Cancer Information Service (CIS) 232-2247.

The information specialist who answered was able to help Brenda understand her diagnosis and assisted her in formulating questions for her next doctor’s appointment. 

Brenda took advantage of the free CIS phone service several times during her cancer journey; the women who answered the phone helped her understand her treatment options as well as find local support services.

Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s CIS service handles calls and e-mails, in English, Spanish and a host of other languages, from patients, family members, health professionals, and others who have questions about different types of cancer. 

Calling 232-2247 is free and confidential. Cancer patients are often overwhelmed by information, and the information specialist can help them sort through it.”

The Cancer Information Service fields a wide variety of queries, including what to expect after different diagnoses; what to ask doctors; where to get financial help or to find local support services, the benefits and side effects of different treatment options; and what clinical trials are currently available.

The phone line is open Monday through Friday, from 10am to 6pm local time.

Callers do not need to identify themselves, unless they request to receive printed material in the mail.

They are asked some basic demographic questions at the end of the call, but can choose not to answer.  The calls are private and confidential.

One unexpected benefit of the call line is the confidence it instils in patients navigating the medical system.

Many people don’t feel entitled to getting good service. It is empowering for people to feel they are going into their appointments with questions to ask and current information to discuss with their doctors.

The Cancer Information Service is staffed by the Canadian Cancer Society’s dedicated team of trained and knowledgeable Information Specialists; the CIS offers personal one-on-one service, including the dissemination of disease information and guidance on where to obtain assistance in Bermuda. 

Phone calls are free and may take as long as the caller needs and the caller may contact the service as often as they wish. 

CIS Information Specialists are able to deliver the same one-on-one cancer information to Internet users via e-mail. 

It is not always convenient to find a quiet time during the day to make a personal call, therefore sending a question via e-mail enables the Information Specialist to reply personally and provide the information needed. 

To e-mail questions to CIS visit www.ccis.bm and an Information Specialist will respond to the inquiry between 10am to 6pm during Monday to Friday.

The free Lending Library at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre is another valuable resource available to support people in finding information.

The library is open to the public and houses an extensive selection of health related books and DVDs; a computer terminal is also available providing Internet access to reliable cancer sites including the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Encyclopedia and the Bermuda Service Locator.

Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, are pleased to provide the Cancer Information Service (CIS) to residents of Bermuda.

This free service is designed to offer support to cancer patients, their families, loved ones, and healthcare providers seeking reliable, current cancer information and assistance finding support services available in Bermuda.

Cancer Information Service can be accessed by calling 232-2247 or by visiting www.ccis.bm.