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Who can help

Coping with cancer

This page tells you about who can help you when you have cancer. There is information about

 

Counselling and support

You may want to talk to someone who will listen to you about your worries, but who is nothing to do with your illness.

The cancer information services listed in the general cancer organisations can tell you more about

 

Spiritual support

Some people find great comfort in religion and it may help to talk to

  • A local minister
  • A hospital chaplain
  • A religious leader of your faith
 

Health professionals

There are many other people who can help

  • Specialist cancer nurses in hospitals
  • District Nurses visit patients and their families at home
  • Macmillan or Marie Curie nurses look after people with cancer at home
  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Dieticians

If you think you need more support, talk to your GP about who may be able to help. Sometimes hospitals can give you special advice through specialist nurses. In hospital there are specially trained staff who will listen and advise you if you are worried.

Social workers can help in many ways and give you information about

  • Social services (for example, meals on wheels, a home help)
  • Any other benefits you may be able to claim while you are ill (for example, hospital fares)
  • Child care during and after treatment, including arranging help with the cost if necessary

You can arrange contact with a social worker yourself by contacting your local social services office or the hospital, or your GP can do it for you.

Some people need more than advice and support. Finding out that you have cancer can lead to you

Some hospitals offer specialist help from psychological support teams in coping with these feelings. If you need help, ask your hospital consultant, GP or specialist nurse. Your GP may be able to help you with these feelings or will refer you on to somebody who can.

 

Sick pay and benefits

This is a short summary of financial support for people with cancer. There is more detailed information in the financial support section.

Incapacity Benefit has replaced Invalidity Benefit and Sickness Benefit. You claim it from Jobcentre Plus (your local Department of Work and Pensions office). There are three rates of Incapacity Benefit

  • Short term lower rate
  • Short term higher rate
  • Long term rate

If you are employed and unable to work, your employer can pay you Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks. After this time you can claim the short term higher rate of Incapacity Benefit. After a year you can claim long term Incapacity Benefit. If you are ill and not at work you will need a medical certificate to claim benefit. You can get a certificate covering the period of your illness from either your GP or your doctor or nurse if you are in hospital. You may also have to take a medical test.

If you are unemployed and unable to work you will need to transfer from Jobseekers Allowance (the old unemployment benefit) to the short term lower rate of Incapacity Benefit, or Income Support.

You can get advice about benefits you may be entitled to from your local Citizens' Advice Bureau and also your local Department of Work and Pensions Office. Their addresses and telephone numbers are on the internet or in your local phone book.

 

Benefits for people with cancer

There are benefits (money from the government) available for people who need help with personal care such as washing and dressing. Your income and savings are not taken into account for these benefits. The assessment for these benefits covers many daily activities so it is worth looking into this if you need any help at all at home.

To get these benefits you usually have to have needed help for a minimum of 3 to 6 months (depending on the benefit). But if you have an advanced cancer, you can make a fast track claim which will get you the money much sooner. You can ask your specialist nurse or social worker for advice. Or you could contact the local Department of Work and Pensions office (Jobcentre Plus) or the Citizens Advice Bureau. You may qualify for

Go to the financial support section for detailed information about state benefits and charitable grants that you may be entitled to. Charitable grants can help with one off expenses, such as heating bills, holidays, medical expenses and many other costs.

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Updated: 9 November 2012