Cancer Information Service helps people affected by cancer across Canada

Jan MacVinnie knows how much stress and anxiety a cancer can bring. For the last 25 years, Jan has been manager of the Canadian Cancer Society’s (CCS) Cancer Information Service, a national, toll-free service for people with cancer and their caregivers, family members and friends.

Every day, more than 34,200 people reach out to CCS for trusted information and caring support about cancer – and they receive it, by phone or online, 24/7.

“The calls we get are from people across Canada,” Jan says. “The other day I received a call from a woman who had just learned she has uterine cancer. She got up the courage after a sleepless night to call us. I was able to give her some information about her diagnosis and the usual treatment options, and I think that helped ease her anxiety a little.”

February 4 is World Cancer Day. On any given day, more than 800,000 Canadians are living with cancer. 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

A new report from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer presents compelling data about the experience of people living with and beyond cancer. The report finds that more than half of people with cancer have debilitating physical and emotional challenges and many indicate significant practical challenges during the diagnosis, treatment and survivorship stages. The findings suggest that for many Canadians with cancer, these concerns are not being adequately addressed.

“We get hundreds of calls a day and every person’s situation is different,” says MacVinnie. “Some people call because they have cancer in their family and they want to know how to prevent it. Others are patients who are worried about coping emotionally or how they’re going to make ends meet while they’re off work. Some want to understand more about their specific diagnosis and treatment options. All our cancer information specialists are trained to listen and understand each person’s needs and then try to help as much as possible.”

Thanks to support from donors and volunteers, the Canadian Cancer Society offers a variety of programs and services for people affected by cancer, including transportation, lodges, support and information programs.

For example, today, volunteer drivers will take cancer patients on 878 rides to essential appointments. This service means they can get the treatment they need. Today, 268 people receiving treatment far from home woke up in a CCS lodge – a warm and comforting home-away-from-home that allows them to focus on getting better rather than worrying about traveling long distances for treatment. And on any given day, CCS funds 300 of the brightest minds in Canada doing the most promising cancer research to improve and save lives.

To find out more about the Canadian Cancer Society’s programs and services, call 1-888-939-3333 or visit