Help and support for cancer

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Being referred for suspected cancer or being diagnosed with cancer can produce a range of emotions – shock, worry, fear, anger – and raise questions both immediately and once you leave the consulting room. Your GP or consultant or specialist nurse should be able support you with information and details of local support groups. 

Emotional support and information

There are a number of national charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK that offer practical and emotional support and information to people affected by cancer. This includes families and friends too. Support is available through their helplines, websites, discussion forums and wide ranging leaflets.  They can also signpost to charities dedicated to particular cancers.

Financial support

Having treatment for cancer can mean making frequent visits to hospital and paying for car parking. You may be eligible for help towards these costs through the NHS low income scheme or you may find the hospital offers special parking concessions if you make regular visits for treatment. 

Contact Macmillan Cancer Support’s benefits helpline if you have financial difficulties due to these or other costs during or following your treatment. They can explain the help you may be eligible to receive, whether you work or are retired.  If you were working before your diagnosis and your return to work is delayed or you are unable to return to work, you will be entitled to income from either your employer or Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).  Contact your employer or local Job Centre Plus office for information. 

Further information

Cancer Research UK
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Helpline: 0808 800 4040 (freephone)
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading independent organisation dedicated to funding cancer research. It is a charity funded almost entirely by the public. Cancerhelp UK is their patient information website. Their helpline is staffed by specialist nurses.

Carers Direct
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Helpline: 0808 802 0202
Carers Direct is an online resource and helpline providing information, advice and support for carers.

Carers Trust
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Telephone: 0844 800 4361 (England office)

Carers Trust is a new charity which was formed in April 2012 by the merger of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care. It provides information, advice and support services for people across the UK caring for a family member or friend at home.

Carers UK
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Carersline: 0808 808 7777 (freephone)
Carers UK is a charity providing information and advice to carers about their rights and how to get financial and other support. They also have a network of around 80 local branches.
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This government website has special sections on ‘money, tax and benefits’ and 'caring for someone'. These explain the financial and other support available and how you can get it.

Macmillan Cancer Support
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Helpline: 0808 808 00 00
Macmillan Cancer Support is a national charity that aims to improve the lives of people affected by cancer by providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support and campaign for better cancer care. Their helpline staff can answer questions about living with cancer and signpost to charities dedicated to particular types of cancer. Macmillan produces a publication: Cancer and older people: getting answers and discussing your needs.

Macmillan nurses and other health professionals can support you while in hospital and once you go home. Speak to your GP, district nurse or hospital doctor if you think it would be helpful to be put in touch with a Macmillan nurse.

Marie Curie Cancer Care
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Helpline: 0800 716 146
Marie Curie Cancer Care - through its Marie Curie nurses working in the community and in hospices offering day and in-patient care - provides care mainly for people with cancer but also other life threatening illnesses. Speak to your GP, district nurse or hospital doctor for more information about the help they offer in your area.

NHS Cancer Screening Programmes  
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The website explains the screening programmes for breast, cervical and bowel cancer.  You can download booklets that explain how the programmes work.

NHS Choices
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The Health A-Z section of this website contains information on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of many types of cancer. It also includes video interviews with specialists and patients.

NICE Guidance
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Orderline: 0845 003 7783
You can check this website to find out which types of cancer are covered by NICE clinical guidance. If you find the type of cancer you're looking for, sort the list of guidance using "most recent". Look for the patient version of any Clinical Guidance document under the symbol representing a small group and the words "Information for the public". You can order it in booklet form or download it from the website.

We are grateful for the generous support of Dr Naim Dangoor CBE
and the Exilarch Foundation

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