What are the benefits of speaking to a cancer information specialist?

A woman wearing a headset smiles while sitting at her desk in a call centre
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) understands how life-changing cancer is for people who’ve been diagnosed and caregivers, families and friends. Our Cancer Information Helpline (CIH) is a national, toll-free support service with trained professionals who can answer your questions, offer helpful information or simply listen. To learn more, we sat down with Holly Bradley, Director of Support Programs at CCS, and Ameek Kaur, Senior Information Specialist for CIH.
Q. What forms of support does the Cancer Information Helpline offer?
Kaur: It helps connect people with cancer, their loved ones and healthcare professionals with credible information and resources about cancer. The support and information we offer covers the entire continuum from cancer prevention through to survivorship or end-of-life - we have resources that cover all aspects of the cancer experience. 

Bradley: The Helpline has a very deep well of knowledge in that it covers all challenges that can come with a diagnosis of cancer including emotional support, practical needs, finances, transportation and general information.
Q. What are the benefits of speaking to a cancer information specialist? 
Bradley: When you have cancer, most people are venturing into an unknown and they're not even sure what to ask. One of the most important things I think the Helpline does is fill in the unknowns of what to expect going forward.  

Kaur: When asked about our service I like to describe it as a service where the information is delivered in a compassionate and empathetic manner. Our team is eager to listen to every person’s experience and needs to guide them to the most appropriate and helpful resources or information possible.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of working for the Cancer Information Helpline team?
Bradley: Cancer is tough and when people come to us, we have an opportunity to make a difference. When someone’s going through the most challenging time of their life, it’s incredibly rewarding to be given that opportunity to help.  

Kaur: People will express in conversations with us that they feel overwhelmed or they're unsure of what to ask when meeting with their healthcare teams. It's fulfilling to know that our service is able to help individuals feel better equipped when trying to navigate their cancer care.
Q. Are there any other resources you would recommend? 

Kaur: I use our Community Service Locator (CSL) in most of my interactions with our Helpline clients. It allows us to perform a local search to find community resources that are available close to home. We can filter based on the needs of the individual such as free services or resources offered virtually or over the phone.

Bradley: I would absolutely recommend our Community Service Locator.  It’s the only resource in Canada that has an entire repository of all cancer related services across the country.

Q. What advice would you offer someone who is considering calling CIH for the first time?
Kaur: There's no pressure – you do not need to come with a prepared list of questions. When you connect with our Helpline, our team is open and ready to lend an ear and provide support in any way we can. 

If you or someone you know has questions about cancer, cancer prevention or local cancer support, reach out to a Cancer Information Specialist through live chat, toll-free at 1-888-939-3333 or by email through our contact form. To learn more about the Cancer Information Helpline, visit