There are lots of organisations, support groups and helpful books to help you cope with changes to how you look.
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.
Organisations that can help with changes to how you look
This charity aims to help with the physical and emotional wellbeing of people going through cancer treatment. They provide confidence boosting workshops, which gives a chance for people to meet others going through a similar experience and to learn skills to manage some of the side effects of treatment, such as skincare and make up techniques.
They have been running for 25 years and workshops are held in 130 hospitals and support centres across the UK. You can find your nearest workshop and read more about the work of the charity on their website.
West Hill House
32 West Hill
Phone: 01372 747500
Changing Faces provide support and information for people who have any form of facial disfigurement including disfigurement caused by cancer. They also provide a skin camouflage service for people in England and Scotland. Trained volunteers teach people how to apply specialist cover creams.
Phone: 0300 0120 275 (support and advice line)
Head office email: email@example.com
The contact details for the skin camouflage service are:
Phone: 0300 0120 276
Let's Face It provides support for people with facial disfigurement including those who have, or had, cancer.
This organisation has detailed information about camouflage cosmetics for people who need help to cover up scars and disfigurements after head and neck surgery. It also runs training courses for camouflage cosmeticians.
Tel.: 01254 703 107
Organisations and suppliers of wigs, hats and scarves
General support and information organisations
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.
95 London Street
Tel: 0118 939 1537
Free helpline: 0800 328 4257(24 hrs a day, 7 days a week)
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. Their head office is in Denmark.
Tel.: 0045 7020 0305 (International phone number from the UK)
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.
Helpline: 0808 800 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and Saturday, 10am to 2pm)
Telephone: 0345 092 0800 (general enquiries)
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
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.
17 High Street
General enquiries: 01926 357220
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 4480
A charitable membership body of health care professionals with an interest in the care and support of people with lymphoedema. Their resources include a directory of lymphoedema specialist practitioners.
Tel: 01452 790 178
Maggie’s is a national charity with centres across the UK. They offer care and support to people affected by cancer. Each centre is beside an NHS cancer hospital and is run by specialist staff.
You can join a support group, take part in weekly sessions like relaxation and stress management, or learn about nutrition and health. You can also visit just to have a cup of tea and a friendly chat.
10 Dumbarton Road
Phone: 0300 123 1801
The Limbless Association produces a quarterly magazine and publications. It provides information and advice for people of all ages who have had amputations, or suffer with congential limb loss.
Telephone: 01245 216 670
Helpline: 0800 644 0185
Limb Loss Legal Panel: 0800 644 0186
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)
The Sexual Advice Association provide lists of local specialist practitioners, as well as fact sheets on problems such as erectile dysfunction (impotence).
College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) provides information about what help and therapy is available for sexual difficulties.
Telephone: 020 8543 2707
Relationships Scotland provides relationship counselling, family mediation, child contact centres and other family support services across all of mainland and island Scotland.
InfoLine: 0345 119 2020 (open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Books about cancer
A Ko, E Rosenbaum and M Dollinger
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009
The author and contributors of this book are all American cancer specialists. The book covers how cancer is diagnosed, treated and managed day to day.
SL Rose and RT Hara
Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 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.
M Williams and others
Guilford Press, 2007
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.
J F Kelvin and L B Tyson
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.
Books and booklets about sex and 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.
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.
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
A practical guide to sexual health and enjoyment.
S Kydd and D Rowett
Big Think Media, 2006
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.