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Resources and support

There are lots of organisations, support groups and helpful books to help you cope with bowel problems caused by cancer and its treatment.

Cancer Research UK information and support

Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the USA. We fund research on all aspects of cancer from its causes to prevention and treatment.

We are committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer. As well as looking at the information on this website you can call our nurse freephone helpline on 0808 800 4040. They are available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Or you can send them a question online.

Cancer Chat is our online forum where you can share experiences.

General support and information organisations

The Medical Advisory Service provides a telephone helpline and online advice on all medical and healthcare matters.

Tel: 020 8994 9874 (6pm to 8pm weekdays Monday to Friday)

Email: office@medicaladvisoryservice.org.uk

For general health advice and information.

NHS 111 gives information if you need fast medical help but its not a 999 emergency. 

NHS Inform gives information about illnesses, treatments and NHS services for people in Scotland.

NHS Helpline: 0800 22 44 88 (Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 10.00pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 5.00pm) - for details of pharmacies, GP practices and dentists in Scotland.

NHS 24 is a confidential telephone health advice and information service for people in Scotland. It provides urgent advice out of hours.

Phone: 111

Macmillan Cancer Support is a charity that gives practical, medical and financial support to people with cancer in the UK. Its helpline gives guidance on cancer and advice on benefits. It also publishes booklets about cancer and treatments. Information is available in other languages.

Freephone: 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am to 8pm)
Contact email form

Specific symptoms organisations

The Bladder and Bowel Community supports people living with bladder and bowel disorders and has a telephone helpline. The service is confidential. They can also give you information about stoma products.

They have a 'Just Can't Wait' card which allows holders access to toilets in shops and when you are out. It's free to order on the website.

Forward House
17 High Street
Henley-in-Arden
B95 5AA
General enquiries: 01926 357220
Email: help@bladderandbowel.org

This is a UK support group for people with a colostomy. It provides information and support, as well as booklets to anyone who has or is about to have a colostomy.

Enterprise House
95 London Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 4QA

Tel: 0118 939 1537
Free helpline: 0800 328 4257(24 hrs a day, 7 days a week)
Email: info@colostomyuk.org

Bowel Cancer UK raise awareness of bowel cancer and campaign for better treatments and care. They provide information about bowel cancers, including anal and rectal cancers through their website and leaflets and they have an online forum. 

Nurse email: nurses@bowelcanceruk.org.uk

Telephone: 020 7940 1760

Organisations that can help with issues of sex and sexuality

Offers private and confidential counselling, and psychosexual therapy to help with relationship problems. They provide counselling over the phone, through a webcam or face to face at a Relate centre. They also have live chat on their website.

Booking line: 0300 003 0396 (Monday-Thursday: 8am to 8pm,  Friday: 8am to 6pm, Saturday: 9am to 1pm)

College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) provides information about what help and therapy is available for sexual difficulties.

Telephone: 020 8543 2707
Email: info@cosrt.org.uk

Prostate Cancer UK provides information and support to anyone with concerns about prostate cancer. They have a helpline, produce information and fund research into prostate cancer. 

Email: info@prostatecanceruk.org
Helpline: 0800 074 8383

Books from libraries, bookshops or online booksellers

Jane Freeman
Sheldon Press, 2012
ISBN 9781847091413

Written by a cancer dietitian, this is a practical handbook for people with cancer. Filled with helpful tips and recipes.

A Bloch and others
American Cancer Society, 2010
ISBN 978-0944235782

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.

M Williams and others
Guilford Press, 2007
ISBN 1593851286

An American book, but two 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.

Books about sex and cancer

Ian Banks
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
ISBN 1844258084

A practical guide to sexual health and enjoyment. 

S Kydd and D Rowett
Big Think Media, 2006
ISBN 0978810805

A responsible guide featuring personal stories and expert voices. Intimacy after Cancer takes an in-depth look at how women respond to, deal with, and overcome barriers to intimacy after a life-changing cancer diagnosis. 

If you would like to recommend a book

You can recommend a book that you have found helpful by using our feedback form. It helps us if you include the title, author, publisher's name and year, and the ISBN number.

Information and help