Cancer Support Community Launches National Program to Assist Patients with Cancer Make Informed Decisions About Care

Personalized Program Supported by the Amgen Foundation Designed to Improve Doctor-Patient Dialogue


The Cancer Support Community (CSC) and the Amgen Foundation, today announced the launch of Open to Options, a program designed to bridge the communications gap between physicians and patients and inspire patient confidence in making treatment decisions. Following a successful pilot funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Open to Options program is ready to provide professional counselors who help more people formulate a list of personalized questions and concerns to be taken into the oncologist’s office.

“The number and complexity of options for treating cancer can be overwhelming for people,” said Vicki Kennedy, Vice President of Program Development & Delivery at theCSC. “The goal of Open to Options is to help people affected by all cancers evaluate their options so they can feel more confident and communicate clearly with their doctor so a decision is made that best fits their individual desires and goals.”

The Open to Options program is available through its Cancer Support Helpline at 888.793.9355, through select affiliate locations and by visiting The phone consultation is offered in both English and Spanish and takes approximately 45-60 minutes.

“We are delighted to support the Open to Options program as part of our ongoing commitment to empowering patients to take an active role in their care,” said Jean Lim Terra, president of the Amgen Foundation. “The resources that the Cancer Support Community provides individuals and families helps to ensure that those affected by cancer have the knowledge and support they need to make the right decisions at the right time.”

The program was created in response to CSC research that found the majority of cancer patients are unprepared to make treatment decisions. A CSC pilot study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 9 out of 10 patients felt that the list of questions, concerns and expectations contributed to a more productive appointment with their doctor and that the oncologist answered most of their questions. The study also showed:

  • -A decrease in anxiety about the appointment for most patients
  • -Repeat use of the tools and techniques learned
  • -Patient and physician satisfaction

“Open to Options helped me prioritize my questions and concerns in a concise, logical order to help me optimize my time with the oncologist,” said Trish H, a multiple myeloma patient who participated in the Open to Options pilot. “When I went into his office, I had my concerns printed out and when I left the appointment I knew that I had decided on the treatment option that was right for me.”