About Visuals Online

General Information

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Visuals Online provides a range of photographs and illustrations that may help communicators of medical and public health convey meaning, describe concepts, and tell stories. The collection spans everything from biomedical, science, and patient-care related illustrations and images to portraits of present and past directors and the staff of the National Cancer Institute. Visuals Online currently provides public access to 3,521 images.

Photos and Images

NCI contracts with or buys images from professional photographers or purchases stock images. In cases where NCI sends a photographer on a public shoot, the photographer is required to get a signed release form from any subject who is recognizable to avoid invasion of privacy issues, and we do our best to obtain adequate authorization. The photographer typically does not photograph other individuals who would likely trade on their image commercially.

Use of Images

Each image or illustration included in the NCI Visuals Online Web site is labeled either "Public Domain" (free to use) or "Copyright Protected" (restricted, obtain permission before use).

Most of the images available in this library are in the public domain and are not subject to copyright restrictions. No special permission is required to use or reproduce public domain images. However, ANY reproduced images should acknowledge NCI as the originator, the NCI Web site, www.cancer.gov, as the source and/or the image creator.

The source can be cited as: The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (https://www.cancer.gov).

Some images are copyright protected. If an image is marked as copyright protected, you must contact the rights holder to obtain permission to reuse. Contact information for reuse is posted at the bottom of the details page for each copyrighted image. 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. NCI does not have the authority to grant usage for any copyrighted images in this library.


To contact NCI staff about Visuals Online, please send an email to cancergovstaff@mail.nih.gov.