Calling the National Cancer Institute

July 1, 1998

WASHINGTON--Up to one-third of callers to the National Cancer Institute’s hot line for cancer information(1-800-4-CANCER) get a busy signal or hang up because of the long wait for someone to pick up, according to a report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

WASHINGTON--Up to one-third of callers to the National Cancer Institute’s hot line for cancer information(1-800-4-CANCER) get a busy signal or hang up because of the long wait for someone to pick up, according to a report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The wait can be as long as 20 minutes. This year it is averaging 5.3 minutes, down from an average of 7.2 minutes last year, said Cristy Thomsen, chief of the NCI’s Cancer Information Service. Ms. Thomsen agreed to many of the inspector general’s recommendations, and said the NCI plans to address the problems.