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 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
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.
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
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.
Helpline: 0300 123 0789 (Monday: 2pm to 4pm and Friday: 10am-12pm & 2pm-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
Telephone: 020 3004 6193
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).
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.
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.
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.
A Bloch and others
American Cancer Society, 2010
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.
Sheldon Press, 2012
Written by a cancer dietitian, this is a practical handbook for people with cancer. Filled with helpful tips and recipes.
Dr P Mortimer and G Levine
Elliott & Thompson, 2017
Explains the causes and symptoms of lymphoedema. Describes treatments, including massage, exercise, and compression garments. It also has information about coping day-to-day with lymphoedema.
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.
Books and booklets about cancer and sex
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.
J H Haynes & Co Ltd, 2009
A practical guide to sexual health and enjoyment.
Macmillan Cancer Support
This booklet offers information for young people about the effects of cancer and cancer treatment on their relationships and sex life. It also has coping strategies and ways of getting more support. Available free to people affected by cancer from Macmillan Cancer Support by calling 0808 808 00 00. Or you can download it from the website.
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.
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.