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Types of Advocacy


The traditional definition of advocacy is to work on someone’s behalf, to “advocate” for their rights. This definition still applies in the cancer world but it is often divided up to indicate the type of advocacy being practiced.

Although you may go to this section to find out more about how you can help yourself or a loved one, we hope you also learn about other types of advocacy. You may want to consider helping others once you progress through your cancer treatment and into survivorship.

To become an advocate for other cancer patients contact:

  • Your local treatment facility
  • Cancer specific non-profit organizations
  • The American Cancer Society.


Personalized Medicine
Recently Diagnosed
Cancer 101
Latina Navigator Training

Educational Advocacy:

Goals: To inform and educate cancer patients and their family/friends.

This might entail information about cancer, survivorship issues and even financial and insurance information.


Examples: Educational information may be conveyed to patients through the use of:

  • Websites

  • Health-fairs

  • Hospital classes

  • Your own medical team

  • Non-Profit educational events

  • Government agencies
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)

This website is an example of educational advocacy.

We have designed our site to provide you with information that we hope helps you better understand what cancer is, what causes cancer, cancer risk and an in-depth section on clinical trials and research.

We also plan to develop and make available various decision aid tools to assist patients and their medical and support teams.


Political Advocacy

Goals: Impact public policy through lobbying. This can be at the State and/or Federal level. You can also serve on advisory committees for your State cancer action plan or other groups that make recommendation at either the State or local level.


  • Research funding: Amount of dollars and how it is allocated
  • Health care policy: Universal health care coverage
  • FDA authority: Which drugs are approved and criteria used
  • Environmental issues: Focus on cancer causing agents and how to protect consumers


Research Advocacy

Goals: To ensure high quality research that is sensitive to the priorities of cancer patients. This may mean more targeted therapies that offer higher quality of life and/or fewer and easier treatment visits.

This may also mean pushing for research that looks at causes, prevention and metastatic cancer.


  • Sitting on grant review panels, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), and Data and Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMBs)
  • Working with researchers to develop grant proposals and implement funded projects
  • Reviewing clinical trial protocols, patient recruitment and education materials
  • Assisting with strategies to increase patient recruitment, compliance and retention for clinical trials
  • Participating in Cancer Cooperative Groups and other National Cancer Institute (NCI) Working Groups


Support Advocacy

Goals: To provide support to cancer patients and their families. This can be in the form of emotional, financial, nutritional and/or physical assistance.


  • Emotional: Support groups, pairing patients with survivors, call lines.

  • Financial: Organizations dedicated to providing patients with information about and or actual financial assistance.

  • Nutritional: Meals on wheels, menu planning tips.

  • Physical: Transportation services, babysitting.


Fundraising Advocacy

Goals: To raise money for either cancer research, support services, patient education and community outreach.


  • Many non-profits raise money to support their own work but some also raise money to support others work.
  • Individuals may raise money running in races, playing in golf tournaments, attending functions that support cancer organizations or by donating to non- profits (please see our donate link to support our work).


Community Outreach Advocacy

Goals: To reach out into the community in a manner that encourages a two-way dialog. This type of advocacy often partners with a local health organization or professional group.

Sometimes there is a special minority/underserved focus to bring these groups more services and/or access.

Examples: Sub groups of:

  • Hospital committee working with their local communities
  • Cooperative group committee with focus communities
  • Non Profits

CISN Tips:

  • Find causes, organizations and people with whom you resonate with and offer your time, energy, and expertise.

  • Be flexible and willing to have their agenda take priority over yours.

  • The more involved you become, the more competent and confident you will become and the more opportunities will open to you.





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