Our Mission at Work: Cancer doesn’t sleep and neither does NCIC

While most of us are fast asleep in the middle of the night, a dedicated group of Cancer Information Specialists at NCIC (National Cancer Information Center) work tirelessly to respond to constituents’ cancer questions and connect them to resources to help with a variety of needs that arise when dealing with a diagnosis. When constituents need answers, empathy, and a listening ear —even at 3 a.m. on a holiday — Cancer Information Specialists will be there to assist.

Here is a small sampling of calls the overnight specialists have received recently:

A woman diagnosed with breast cancer called after hearing about Look Good Feel Better, because she will soon begin treatment and wanted to be prepared for side-effects. The specialist registered the caller for a Look Good Feel Better session, discussed ways the caller could manage her diet and nutrition during treatment, and shared information on other side-effects she may experience. The caller also was referred to Reach To Recovery to receive support throughout her cancer journey.

A father called NCIC in the middle of the night looking for emotional support and help telling his young children that their grandmother, his mother, had passed away from cancer. The specialist shared information about how to share the news and ways to help his children through the grieving and mourning process. The caller was also given resources to obtain support for himself and his family.

After learning her sister was diagnosed with stage IV lobular breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones, a woman called NCIC to discuss getting a second opinion for her loved one. The caller was emotional and understandably wanted to make sure her sister got the best care possible. The specialist walked the caller through finding out what might be covered by her sister’s Medicaid, as well as how to find a breast cancer specialist and an accredited cancer treatment facility. They discussed treatment options for stage IV breast cancer, ACS wig banks, Reach To Recovery, ACS Air Miles, and other resources that may help the patient.

A man was concerned about his wife’s risk of ovarian cancer due to talcum powder use. The specialist shared information on the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as information about talcum powder’s link to the cancer. The caller was worried, because his wife was experiencing symptoms but told the specialist their insurance had lapsed and finances were tight. The specialist referred the caller to NCIC’s Health Insurance Assistance Service, which will help the caller look into options for obtaining coverage for care for his wife.

NCIC’s cancer information specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via 1-800-227-2345. Constituents also can chat with a specialist Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET by clicking the Live Chat button found on cancer.org.



Our Mission at Work

“My name is Hiroko Eovino. I am from Japan and have been living in Hawaii for twenty years. I’ve been volunteering as a wig fitter since the summer of 2015.  I am a breast cancer survivor. My cancer was cured in July of 2013.  I was lucky to have caught my cancer at an early stage.  However, it was an aggressive cancer and my doctor recommended for me to take chemotherapy. Dealing with cancer treatments are tough for mind and body. Especially for females, losing your own hair from chemotherapy treatment is a very emotional moment.  In my experience, wearing a wig that makes you feel comfortable helps the emotional aspect a lot. You get your confidence again. You might be surprised that some hair styles and hair colors you’ve never tried before make you look even more beautiful. I tried many kinds of wigs and hats until my hair grew back and was long again. I studied art and fashion since I was young and I was always in the design business. My sense of design helped me a lot to make myself look good during the cancer treatments. I always thought I would like to share my wig experience and help female cancer patients. As a wig fitter, I meet eight to twelve cancer patients a month.  My happiest moment at my volunteer work is seeing a smile on their face when they find the right wig. This is the moment that they get their confidence back. This is not just one way, it’s both ways. I am also receiving by giving. I am deeply thankful to the American Cancer Society for giving me an opportunity to do this wonderful volunteer work.” 

The American Cancer Society helps cancer patients with the emotional aspect of hair loss by providing wigs, hats, turbans, and other head-coverings, at no cost.  In 2016, over 350 Hawaii patients were served with items from our Gift Closets.  Interested people may call our office, to make an appointment with a trained volunteer, who can assist with wig selection, wig care, scarf styling, and more.  Wig closets are on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hilo.  For more information, please call (808) 595-7500.