What is the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)?

The DKFZ is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 3,000 employees, including over 1,200 are scientists, work in over 90 departments and working groups. They research how cancer develops, record cancer risk factors, and look for strategies that prevent people from getting cancer. They develop new approaches for more accurately diagnosing tumors and treating cancer patients more successfully. As a foundation under public law and a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, the DKFZ is publicly funded. 90% of the basic funding is provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10% by the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry of Research, Science, and Culture.

The DKFZ Cancer Information Service

The cancer information service provides professional advice to anyone in Germany who has questions about cancer, offering clear and scientifically based information:

  • to patients, relatives, and citizens
  • to specialists involved in cancer patient care
  • on cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment, on living with the disease, on cancer research, and on suitable points of contact
  • individually tailored to the needs of the people seeking advice by telephone and e-mail
  • on topics that are frequently asked about on the internet, in social networks, with brochures, handouts, and info flyers
  • easily accessible, quality assured, up to date, needs oriented, clear, reliable, and anonymous if desired
  • neutral, independent, and free to all users through the use of public funding under the umbrella of the DKFZ

As a DKFZ department, the cancer information service is under particular obligation to ensure the scientific and up-to-date nature of the information provided. This means that the employees regularly and systematically research all available scientific publications on cancer, classify them, and then use them to produce clearly understandable information. All content provided by the service is therefore evidenced by sources. Information about how the cancer information service works can be found in the “Über uns” (“About us”) area of www.krebsinformationsdienst.de (in German).

The core focus is on the needs and concerns of the people seeking advice, who the cancer information service has a very good insight into through individual inquiries. The services are offered with empathy and respect for their situation, their beliefs and values, as well as their cultural background. The cancer information service promotes dialog between patients and doctors, helps patients and consumers get involved with medical decisions, and strengthens people’s health literacy. As a national reference center for cancer information, the cancer information service is also characterized by high quality standards with regard to the provision of information. It helps improve cancer patient care by performing accompanying research.

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