There are lots of organisations, support groups and helpful books to help you cope with symptoms and side effects caused by cancer and its treatment.
Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the USA. We are the European leader in the development of new anti-cancer drugs. We fund research on all aspects of the disease from its causes, to treatment and prevention, education and psychological support for patients.
We are also committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer, health professionals and the general public. We do this through the About Cancer pages on our website, our news and resources, and our range of health awareness leaflets.
Cancer Chat is our free online discussion forum for people affected by cancer. It is a safe space to talk to other people in similar situations, and find information and support.
If you have a question about cancer, you can contact our team of specialist cancer information nurses. Call free on 0808 800 4040, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. To talk in your preferred language, ask for our interpreting service. Or you can send us a question online.
Specific rare cancer organisations and sites
The Rare Cancer Alliance offer online support and information to people affected by rare cancers. It has a forum where you can share experiences and you might be able to meet others with the same cancer as you.
Specific cancer organisations and sites
Bloodwise sponsors research into leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. It also provides patient information booklets and leaflets that you can download or order from their website.
Bloodwise used to be called Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Tel: 0808 2080 888 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)
GIST Support UK is a network of people with GIST and their relatives. Everyone involved has experience of GIST (gastro intestinal stromal tumours – a type of sarcoma). The website has brief information about GIST and its treatment and a list of links. The organisation runs phone and email support networks and and forum and it has two meetings a year.
The Lymphoma Association gives emotional support and medical information on all aspects of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Their services are free to people with lymphoma and their family and friends.
They run local support groups for people with lymphoma around the country. They also have a buddy scheme for putting patients in touch with each other by phone. And they produce leaflets and a newsletter.
The Lymphoma Association online forum is is available 24 hours a day. It has designated chat times between 12 and 2pm, and 8 and 10pm, when you are likely to find the most people online.
Tel: 0808 808 5555 (9am to 6pm Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday)
The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a charity that supports people affected by head and neck cancer. Its website has information about mouth, throat and other head and neck cancers.
Tel: 01924 950 950
General support and information organisations
For general health advice and information.
NHS 111 gives information if you need fast medical help but it's not a 999 emergency.
Confidential telephone health advice and information service for people in Scotland.
NHS Helpline: 0800 22 44 88 (8am to 10pm – for details of pharmacies, GP practices and dentists in Scotland. Can also give information about illnesses, treatments and NHS services)
NHS 24 Helpline: 08454 24 24 24 (for when you are feeling ill and your doctor's surgery is closed)
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. They provide practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. They provide booklets on cancer and treatments and run a helpline providing cancer information and benefits advice.
89 Albert Embankment
Phone: 0808 808 0000 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 8pm – information available in other languages)
Textphone: 0808 808 0121
Phone: 020 7612 0370
A national charity providing specialist units, support, education and information for teenagers with cancer and their families. The TCT also funds research into young people's cancers. It holds annual conferences for teenagers with cancer and the health professionals who look after them.
Organisations that provide equipment
Offers mobility aids at low cost to help both elderly people and disabled adults and children. Has an extensive range of daily living aids and disability equipment.
Brook Mill Industrial Estate
Phone: 0845 5194734, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – lo-call rates apply from a landline
Mobile number: 01772 675040
Specific symptoms organisations
A support group for anyone who suffers from chronic pain. They deliver self management training to help those with chronic pain.
Suite D, Moncrieffe Business Centre
Freephone: 0800 783 6059 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm)
Offers information and support to people with pain and those who care for them. They run a helpline staffed by volunteers, and have an online forum called HealthUnlocked for members to share experiences. You can listen to podcasts which feature interviews with experts and people who are managing their pain. You can also subscribe to their magazine, Pain Matters.
62-66 Newcraighall Road
Telephone: 0131 669 5951
Helpline: 0300 123 0789 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)
This organisation provides information and support for people who need artificial feeding. They also have regional support groups for PINNT members.
PO Box 3126
A national charity offering information and support to anyone affected by lymphoedema. It has local support groups, a helpline and a website. It also produces a range of information including factsheets about lymphoedema and its treatment, 2 DVDs about self management techniques for lymphoedema, and a quarterly newsletter.
St. Luke's Crypt
Telephone: 020 7351 0990 (Administration)
A registered charity that aims to improve the lives of those with lymphoedema. They actively contribute to the improvement of the management of lymphoedema worldwide and especially in developing countries. They have a number of booklets that can be downloaded free of charge.
6/88 South Ealing Road
The BLS is mainly for health professionals caring for people with lymphoedema. They aim to encourage research and produce guidelines.
The Garth House
Telephone: 01452 790178
MLD UK promotes public awareness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) from the point of view of both the patient and practitioners for people with lymphoedema. They publish a register of practitioners of MLD.
PO Box 14491
Fife, KY6 3YE
Tellephone: 0844 800 1988
Breast Cancer Care provides breast cancer information and support across the UK. All services are free and include a helpline, website, publications and practical and emotional support. It runs sessions about lymphoedema around the country. Each session includes information about the prevention and management of lymphoedema. Looking at signs and symptoms, practical self-help approaches that may reduce the risk of lymphoedema, and how to manage lymphoedema if it occurs.
Helpline: 0808 800 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and Saturday, 10am to 2pm)
Telephone: 0345 092 0800 (general enquiries)
Provides support and information for people who have any form of facial disfigurement including disfigurement caused by cancer. They produce a booklet called 'When cancer affects the way you look', which you can download from the website.
They also provide a skin camouflage service. Trained volunteers teach people how to apply specialist cover creams.
Phone: 0300 0120 275 (support and advice line)
The contact details for the skin camouflage service are:
Telephone: 0300 0120 276
Organisations that can help with issues of sex and sexuality
Offers private and confidential counselling, and psychosexual therapy to help with relationship problems.
Telephone: 0300 100 1234
Information on sexual problems. They provide lists of local specialist practitioners, as well as factsheets on problems such as erectile dysfunction (impotence).
Suite 301, Emblem House
London Bridge Hospital
27 Tooley Street
Telephone 020 7486 7262 (Mon, Wed and Fri, 9am to 5pm)
This organisation provides a telephone helpline staffed by nurses. They can give you information and advice about all aspects of prostate cancer, including erection problems.
The Counting House
53 Tooley Street
Telephone: 0800 074 8383 (Mon to Fri, 10am to 4pm and Wed, 7pm to 9pm)
Books about cancer
Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy (5th edition)
Andrew H Ko, Malin Dollinger and Ernest H Rosenbaum
Publishers: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008
This book covers how cancer is diagnosed, treated, and managed day to day.
100 Questions and Answers About Cancer Symptoms and Cancer Treatment Side Effects (2nd edition)
Joanne Frankel Kelvin and Leslie B Tyson
Publishers: Jones and Bartlett Publishing, 2010
An American book which gives both doctor’s and patient’s views on coping with the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment. It has information about treatment for pain, nausea, tiredness, and other symptoms.
100 Questions and Answers About Caring for Family or Friends With Cancer (2nd edition)
Susannah Rose and Richard Hara
Publishers: Jones and Bartlett Publishing, 2009
An American book which gives information about caring for someone with cancer, including how to support them when they have symptoms or side effects.
How to Eat Well When You Have cancer
Sheldon Press, 2012
Written by a cancer dietician, this is a practical nutritional handbook for people with cancer. Filled with helpful tips and recipes.
Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Patients: Eating Well, Staying Well During and After Cancer (2nd edition)
Abby Bloch, Barbara Grant, Kathryn Hamilton and Cynthia Thomson
Publisher: American Cancer Society, 2009
An American book, but most of the information is relevant to the UK. It covers issues such as preventing weight loss and coping with dehydration, fatigue, and infection. It also discusses eating problems and digestion issues, such as swallowing problems, feeling sick and dealing with mouth sores. Focuses on survivorship and how to eat well after treatment.
The Mindful Way Through Depression
Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Publisher: The Guilford Press, 2007
An American book, but 2 of the authors are British researchers who are helping to promote mindfulness based cognitive therapy courses for people experiencing stress and depression in the UK. A CD of guided meditations is included with the book.
Lymphoedema: Advice on Self-management and Treatment
Peter Mortimer and Jacqueline Todd
Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd (2007)
Sexual Health – The Practical Guide to Sexual Health and Enjoyment
Dr Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
ISBN 1 844 258 084
Written by a doctor, this book includes information on health problems that may affect your sex life. Written with humour and compassion.
Relationships, Sex and Fertility for Young People Affected by Cancer
Macmillan Cancer Support
This booklet offers information to young people about all aspects of sex and relationships and discusses the effects of cancer treatment on fertility. It also has coping strategies and options for fertility treatment in people whose fertility is affected.
Available free to people affected by cancer from Macmillan Cancer Support by calling 0808 500 800.
Sexuality and Intimacy for Cancer Patients and Their Partners
Sexual Advice Association
This booklet aims to help cancer patients and their partners understand sexual difficulties that may happen after cancer and ways of overcoming them. Available on the Sexual Advice Association website.
Intimacy After Cancer – A Woman’s Guide
Dr Sally Kydd and Dana Rowett
Big Think Media, 2006
ISBN 0 9788108 0 5
This American book has information about sexuality after a diagnosis of cancer and its treatment. It includes information about how you may feel and offers some helpful solutions in maintaining or regaining intimate relationships. As an American book it is only available from online book suppliers.
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