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Web Policies

  • Updated: 04/25/2012

Disclaimer of Endorsement and Liability

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. Therefore, mention of commercial products, processes, or services on NCI's website,, cannot be construed as an endorsement or recommendation.

The NCI website provides links to other Internet sites for informational purposes and the convenience of its users. When users select a link to an external website, they are leaving the NCI website and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the external site.

NCI does not endorse organizations that sponsor linked, external websites. In addition, NCI does not endorse products or services that such organizations may offer. Furthermore, NCI does not control or guarantee the currency, accuracy, relevance, or completeness of information found on linked, external websites.

NCI cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials published on linked, external websites. Users must request authorization from the sponsors of those websites.

NCI is not responsible for transmissions users may receive from linked, external websites.

NCI does not guarantee that linked, external websites comply with Section 508 (Accessibility Requirements) of the Rehabilitation Act.

Press releases or other materials meant for public use will not be posted on the NCI website unless developed by or for NCI or the National Institutes of Health.

In general, it is not NCI's intention to provide specific medical advice to users of its website, but rather to provide users with information to help them better understand their health, diagnosed conditions, and the current range of approaches related to cancer treatment, prevention, screening, and supportive care. NCI urges users to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical questions.

Privacy and Security Policy

NCI complies with requirements for privacy and security established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This page outlines our privacy and security policy as they apply to our site as well as third party sites and applications that NCI uses (for example, Facebook, YouTube).

 Your Visit to the NCI Website

Your visit to the NCI website is private and secure. When you visit the NCI website, we do not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you, unless you choose to explicitly provide it to us. We do, however, collect some data about your visit to our website to help us better understand public use of the site and to make it more useful to visitors. This page describes the information that is automatically collected and stored.

How NCI Collects Information

When you browse through any website, certain information about your visit can be collected. NCI uses the Adobe Omniture Web Analytics and Google Analytics programs to collect information automatically and continuously. We use this information to measure the number of visitors to our site and its various sections and to distinguish between new and returning visitors to help make our site more useful to visitors. However, no personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.

The NCI staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from Adobe Omniture and Google Analytics. The reports are only available to NCI website managers, members of their Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.

NCI also uses online surveys to collect opinions and feedback from a random sample of visitors. NCI uses the Foresee Results’ American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) online survey to obtain feedback and data on visitors’ satisfaction with the NCI website. This survey does not collect PII. Participation in the survey is voluntary. If you decline the survey, you will still have access to the identical information and resources on the NCI website as those who take the survey. Answers to the survey help NCI improve its website to make it easier to use and more responsive to the needs of our visitors.

The NCI staff conducts analyses and reports on the aggregated data from the ACSI survey. The reports are available only to NCI website managers, members of their Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.

NCI retains the data from Adobe Omniture, Google Analytics, and ACSI survey results only as long as required by law or needed to support the mission of the NCI website.

How NCI Uses Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies.

When you visit any website, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected. The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of webpages. Requests to send cookies from NCI’s webpages are designed to collect information about your browser session only; they do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies, single session (temporary) and multi-session (persistent). Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

How Are Temporary "Session” Cookies Used?

We use session cookies for technical purposes such as improving navigation through our website. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our website. The "session" cookie is not permanently stored on your computer. The cookie and the information about your visit are automatically destroyed shortly after you close your browser to end the session.

The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as “Usage Tier 1—Single Session.” The policy says, “This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies.”

How Are "Persistent Cookies" Used?

The OMB Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies allows Federal agencies to use persistent cookies in addition to temporary session cookies.

We use persistent cookies to help us recognize new and returning visitors to the NCI website. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to the NCI website until they expire. We do not use this technology to identify you or any other individual website visitor.

NCI is running the American Customer Satisfaction Survey (ACSI) on the website, which uses "persistent" cookies to block repeated invitations to take the ACSI survey.

We also use persistent cookies to enable NCI’s Adobe Omniture Web Analytics and Google Analytics programs to measure how new and returning visitors use the NCI website over time.

The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as “Usage Tier 2 – Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII).” The policy says, “This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected.”

How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources the NCI website provides.

Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at Please note that by following the instructions to opt out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from NCI’s website.

How Is Personal Information Protected?

You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NCI website.

If you choose to provide us with additional information about yourself through an e-mail message, form, survey, etc., we maintain the information only as long as needed to respond to your question or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication.

For further information about NIH privacy policy, please contact the NIH Senior Official for Privacy at, call (301) 451-3426, or visit


NCI does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors, unless required for law enforcement or by statute.

Site Security

NCI's website is maintained by the U.S. Government. It is protected by various provisions of Title 18, U.S. Code. Violations of Title 18 are subject to criminal prosecution in federal court.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we use software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. In the event of authorized law enforcement investigations, and pursuant to any required legal process, information from these sources may be used to help identify an individual.

 Your Visit to NCI on Third-Party Websites

Third-party websites and applications are Web-based technologies that are not exclusively operated or controlled by NCI. These include applications hosted on other non-government websites and those embedded on an NCI webpage.

As part of the Open Government Directive, NCI uses a variety of new technologies and social media tools to communicate and interact with our audiences. Use of some of these applications could cause personally identifiable information (PII) to become available or accessible to NCI, regardless of whether NCI solicits or collects it. The table below lists the websites and applications we use. If any of these sites or applications collect PII, we describe what is collected and how NCI protects the information.

Types of Third-Party Websites and Applications

Third-Party Website and Application

How It Works


AddThis allows you to bookmark and share our content on a variety of social media sites. You do not need to register or provide any personal information. The AddThis service providers collect non-personal data, including aggregate and summary statistics on browsers and usage patterns.

AddThis also uses non-personal data to manage the service efficiently and diagnose server problems. Although AddThis offers some analytics and usage data to NCI, these reports do not include any personally identifiable information. The reports are password protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff requiring this information to perform their duties. (See AddThis Privacy Policy.)


NCI has three Facebook pages—National Cancer Institute (in English and Spanish) and National Cancer Institute-Office of Media Relations. The privacy policies for the Facebook pages are located on these sites.

On each of the NCI Facebook pages, NCI staff posts news and other items of interest to users. If you have a Facebook account or “Like” NCI Facebook pages, you can post comments or click on the “like” option for individual entries. If you comment or click on the “like” button, personally identifying information will be visible to NCI staff and other Facebook site visitors. The amount of visible personal information will depend on your own Facebook privacy settings. You can avoid displaying any personally identifiable information by not creating an account, not posting comments, and not clicking on the “like” options in Facebook.

NCI staff does not collect, use, or disclose any information about visitors who comment or “like” the NCI Facebook sites. Facebook collects and reports on non-personally identifiable information about activities on Facebook pages. This information is password-protected and only available to NCI managers, members of the NCI Communications and Web Teams, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. (See Facebook Privacy Policy.)


NCI uses Twitter to send short messages (up to 140 characters) or “Tweets” to share information about NCI with our audiences and respond to comments and inquiries sent via Twitter to NCI. While users may read the NCI Twitter feeds without subscribing to them, users who want to subscribe to (or follow) NCI Twitter feeds must create a Twitter account at

To create an account, you must provide some personal information, such as name, user name, password, and email address. You have the option to provide additional personal information including a short biography, location, or a picture. Most information you provide for a Twitter account is available to the public, but you can modify how much of your information is visible by changing your privacy settings at the website.

NCI staff members monitor the number of subscribers and respond to comments and queries via Twitter, but the staff never uses the personal information of their Twitter followers. NCI does not collect, maintain, disclose, or share any information about people who follow NCI on Twitter. (See Twitter Privacy Policy.)


NCI videos introduce you to many different aspects of the research that NCI supports and connect you to our research-based information resources. Some videos feature stories from researchers, cancer patients, and their caregivers. Others seek to explain NCI's major research programs. Most of these videos are available on NCI's websites as well. (See Privacy Policy.)

To be notified when NCI adds new videos, users with YouTube accounts can subscribe to the NCIgov channel. NCI staff members monitor the number of subscribers and may respond to comments and queries on YouTube, but NCI does not collect, maintain, disclose, or share any information about people who follow NCI on YouTube.

Related Policies

Accessibility Policy

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is committed to providing access to all individuals--disabled or not--who are seeking information on its website. To provide this information, the NCI website has been designed to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (as amended).

Section 508 requires that all individuals with disabilities (whether they are federal government employees or members of the general public) have access to and use of information and data comparable to that provided to individuals without disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed.

Any individual using assistive technology (such as a screen reader, Braille reader, etc.) who experiences difficulty in accessing information on, should send an e-mail to Contact Us ( or call NCI's Office of Communications at 301-496-9096 for assistance. The nature of the accessibility problem and contact information should be included in any e-mail or telephone message. If the accessibility problem involves a particular webpage, including the URL (Web address) of the page would be helpful. A member of the NCI website staff will contact individuals with accessibility problems as soon as possible to assist them and to provide them the information sought.

Website Linking Policy

We encourage individuals and organizations to link to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website ( and to the Spanish language site, en español ( The source can be cited as follows:

The website of the National Cancer Institute (

The NCI website is periodically revised, and content may be deleted or moved. We try to ensure that existing links will redirect to the new page(s).

Links from NCI to Other Websites

The NCI website includes links to external websites. These links are for your convenience and to supplement NCI content. In general, NCI links to:

  • Other federal agencies.
  • NCI partners (such as a cancer center or clinical trial cooperative group).
  • Organizations with which we have a formal relationship (such as a Memorandum of Understanding, license, or development agreement).

Selection of external links is at NCI discretion and does not imply endorsement of external organizations, their products and services. NCI does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, relevance, or completeness of information found on linked, external websites. We link to government information according to our linking policy, whether or not the other website links to us.

We reserve the right to remove links to external websites that no longer meet our content needs.

Periodic Link Review

NCI periodically reviews internal and external links to ensure that they are still functional and valuable, but you may occasionally encounter a broken link. If so, please send a message to or use our e-mail form.

Related Policies

For more information, please see the following NCI policies:

Copyright and Reuse of Graphics and Text

You May Reuse Information from the National Cancer Institute Website

Most of the information on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website,, is in the public domain and is not subject to copyright restrictions. No special permission is required to use or reproduce public domain material. NCI's public domain information includes health professional and patient information in NCI's Physician Data Query (PDQ®) cancer information database and patient education brochures, booklets, and fact sheets.

However, any reproduced material should acknowledge NCI as the originator and the NCI website,, as the source. The source can be cited as:

The website of the National Cancer Institute (

You Do Not Need Permission to:

  • Use text from NCI information products in your own materials.
    • However, you cannot use the registered trademark logos for NCI, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or PDQ in your materials because NCI has not reviewed or approved your product.
  • Translate text from NCI products into other languages.
    • However, you cannot use the NCI, NIH, DHHS, or PDQ logos on your translations because NCI has not reviewed or approved your translations.
  • Link to NCI websites.

Please note that many of our online health publications are continually updated as we learn more about a specific disease or condition. Occasionally, sites that copy and repost NCI materials fail to check for updates, which can result in out-of-date information being offered to their users. For that reason, we urge you to link to NCI documents rather than repost them. If you do repost, please visit the NCI website periodically to check for document revisions.

You Do Need Permission to Use Registered Trademarks and Copyrighted Material:

  • NCI's logo is trademarked and cannot be used without consent.
    • Questions regarding use of the NCI logo should be directed to the NCI Office of Communications Services at
  • PDQ is a registered trademark and its use requires a licensing agreement with NCI.
  • Artwork, graphics, and text developed for NCI by private-sector designers, photographers, and writers under contract to the federal government is owned by the originators.
    • Permissions, including credit line and/or fees for use of privately owned material, must be negotiated directly with the private-sector contractor, independent of the government.
    • To inquire about the ownership of NCI materials or to obtain contractor contact information, send e-mail to the NCI Office of Communications Services at or write to:
      Office of Communications Services
      Office of Communications and Education
      National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS
      Room 3066
      6116 Executive Boulevard
      Rockville, MD 20892-8322

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552 provides individuals with a right to access information in the possession of the U.S. federal government. The government, however, may withhold information covered by 9 exemptions and 3 exclusions contained in the Act.

Before submitting a request under FOIA, individuals should try to determine whether the information sought is already in the public domain and whether it is or may be held by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI has a wealth of information available in both published and electronic formats. A search of NCI's website,, can be helpful in locating information and lists of available publications.

If data produced under an NCI grant are sought, the data will be released under FOIA only if specific requirements are met.

It is important to note that FOIA allows agencies to recover part of the costs associated with responding to requests. Department of Health and Human Services regulations describe specific rules for fees, requesting a fee waiver, and reducing fees.

Questions about FOIA and requests for information held by NCI can be directed either to the NCI FOIA Office or to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) FOIA Office.

The NCI FOIA Office is located at:

                                   Building 31, Room 10A48
31 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: 301-496-2999
Fax number: 301-435-2931

The NIH FOIA Office is located at:

                                   Building 31, Room 5B35
31 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: 301-496-5633
Fax number: 301-402-4541

NCI Comment Policy

Where commenting is supported on this or any other website owned or administered by the National Cancer Institute, we encourage you to share your thoughts as they relate to the topic being discussed. We review and post comments according to the policy below. We reserve the right not to post comments, or to remove comments, that are inconsistent with our policy, at our complete discretion. 

The views expressed in comments reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the federal government. 

Comments that include the following are prohibited: 

  • Vulgar, profane, or abusive language; personal attacks of any kind; inappropriate religious, sexual, political, or racial references; unsupported accusations.
  • Endorsements of commercial products, services, organizations, or other entities.
  • Endorsements of political parties, candidates, or groups.
  • Content that infringes on copyrights.
  • Solicitation of funds.
  • Comments on any ongoing investigation of any sort.
  • Procurement-sensitive information related to any current/future NCI acquisitions.
  • Surveys, polls, questionnaires, etc., subject to OMB Paperwork Reduction Act clearance.
  • Reporters’ questions – all media inquiries must be directed to the NCI Office of Media Relations ( 

In posting your comments or other work to a website owned or administered by NCI, you irrevocably grant NCI permission to copy, distribute, make derivatives, display or perform your work publicly and free-of-charge. 

Remember that your posts are public. When posting, please do not include information (e.g., social security numbers) in the text of your comment that personally identifies you in a way you do not intend. Additional guidance as to how NCI regards privacy issues can be found at our Privacy and Security Policy page. 

We welcome your comments at any time. However, given the need to responsibly manage federal resources, reviewing and posting of comments will generally occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted at other times will be reviewed and posted as soon as possible. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy.  We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Exit Disclaimer Policy

  • This graphic notice ()  next to a link on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) website indicates that the link leads to another site that is not a federal government website.
  • NCI links to external websites to supplement the information found on NCI’s website. However, NCI cannot guarantee the accuracy of information provided on external websites.
  • Linking to a non-federal website does not indicate an endorsement by NCI of the sponsors or of the information and products presented on the website.
  • You will be subject to the external website’s privacy policy when you leave NCI’s website.