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30 Years of the Cancer Information Service: More important than ever before!

No. 47 | 21/11/2016 | by ah

Every year, more and more people are afflicted by cancer. In 2015 there were about 490,000 new cases in Germany alone. So, it is not surprising that the need for reliable information continues to grow: Last year, the German Cancer Information Service (KID) of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) responded to 34,000 individual enquiries from all across Germany – more than ever before. Every month between 450,000 and 635,000 users accessed information on the website Since 2014, doctors, caregivers, therapists and psychological counselors have utilized and valued the professional service

What patients ask: Breast and prostate cancer are the most asked about.

What patients ask
The questions have not changed much since 1986: Most patients and their loved ones ask about current cancer treatment options and are looking for concrete therapy and support services. The most common forms of cancer are usually the most asked about: breast cancer for women, prostate cancer for men. Other questions answered via phone or email include how to cope with cancer on a day to day basis, how to deal with potential side effects of treatment, or how safe and effective alternative treatment methods are. Nearly 70 doctors and other staff members work at the KID. In order to ensure that all inquiries are answered based on hard evidence, the KID employees research, evaluate, and document the current medical standards and the newest scientific data. For over 30 years the KID has therefore built a unique scientific database, which guarantees that patients receive reliable information that is always up to date with the most current medical research.

Known all over Germany
Though initially known mainly in Germany's western and southern regions, the Cancer Information Service is increasingly used by people across the entire country. The is due in part to the opening of our Dresden branch in 2010. "In addition to that, we also managed to raise awareness for our services in the north and east of Germany in 2015 via a targeted ad campaign," explains Susanne Weg-Remers, the director of the KID. "It's important to us that all those seeking advice always know who they can turn to in order to receive independent and reliable information."

The KID online
Though it started out purely as a phone service 30 years ago, the KID's webpages have since become a mainstay of its services. Recognizing that many people, especially in medical matters, inform themselves online first, the KID ensures that the information they receive is kept to a consistently high standard. The user numbers of have been growing steadily over the past years as well. Those visiting the site seek advice regarding cancer risks and prevention, as well as information on how to deal with living with cancer.

15 years of email service
To deal with the increasing inquiries pouring in by mail, the KID eventually established an email service in 2001 – initially with just two doctors. Since then, the email team has grown to 9 people and has answered about 70,000 queries in total. Today, it takes about 2 working days to receive a comprehensive and individual written response. For some patients and their loved ones, the service is indispensable as it can help prepare them for a consultation with their doctor or help decide on therapy options. The channel is used even amongst experts, as they can reach the service around the clock.

For medical specialists
Established in 2014, the special service for medical practitioners,, has remained a tried and tested part of the KID's service. Doctors, caregivers, therapists, and counselors used the special hotline 0800 – 430 40 50 or the email address roughly 1,800 times in 2015. "Doctors often ask for additional support for their oncological patients," says Dr. Weg-Remers. "We've been overwhelmed with the positive feedback from users of our special service for medical professionals. It's a real help to them."

The current annual report of the Cancer Information Service can be viewed online at

Questions about cancer? We are here for you.
For patients, loved ones, and anyone seeking advice
Telephone: 0800 – 420 30 40, every day from 8AM to 8PM

Photo Material

A photo for the press release can be downloaded at:

Caption: What patients ask: Breast and prostate cancer are the most asked about.

Note on use of images related to press releases
Use is free of charge. The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) permits one-time use in the context of reporting about the topic covered in the press release. Images have to be cited as follows: "Source: Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ)"
Distribution of images to third parties is not permitted unless prior consent has been obtained from DKFZ's Press Office (phone: ++49-(0)6221 42 2854, E-mail: Any commercial use is prohibited.


With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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