Despite the advent of the Internet information revolution in the 1990s, many Americans still rely on the printed word for health information. In response, CIS makes available nearly 360 NCI publications and fact sheets in English, with 81 of these materials also available in Spanish, through its Publications Ordering Service. NCI publications are designed to address a vast range of cancer-related topics - from encouraging screening for breast and cervical cancers to coping with the emotional burden of cancer and understanding the clinical trials process.
According to the NCI Office of Communications Annual Report, in 2005, the CIS Publications Ordering Service distributed 6.4 million publications, including 1.2 million booklets belonging to NCI's "What You Need to Know About Cancer" series. Last year, 133,561 orders for printed material were received, comprising 32,808 phone orders, 69,294 online orders, and 31,459 orders from other sources. An average of 20 to 30 thousand copies of publications and other materials are distributed each day.
To handle this demand, the CIS Publications Ordering Service maintains an average monthly inventory of 27 to 28 million copies of NCI materials. Orders for cancer patients, families, and friends are shipped by priority mail for delivery within 3 business days after an order has been placed.
The CIS Publications Ordering Service has adopted new technologies, such as the bar code scanning system, to better serve the public through increased efficiency and accuracy. Current accuracy in shipping, fulfillment, and inventory management is nearly 100 percent.