Resources and support when someone is dying

There are many organisations, support groups and books that can help you cope when you are dying with cancer. They can also help the people close to you.

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.

Bereavement and grief organisations

Cruse provides bereavement counselling. It offers help, support and information to anyone facing bereavement or who has been bereaved. It has a network of local branches throughout the UK.

Helpline: 0808 808 1677

Grief Encounter provides support services for bereaved children and their families throughout the UK. Their website has resources and information for bereaved children and young people. The website also has a live chat function.

Freephone grief talk helpline: 0808 802 0111 Monday to Friday 9am - 9pm
Email: grieftalk@griefencounter.org.uk

This organisation aims to support you through your bereavement, connect you with others who have experienced something similar and help you get the information and assistance you need.

Phone: 0300 200 4112
Email: hello@thelossfoundation.org

The National Bereavement Service

The National Bereavement Service offers practical and emotional support to guide you through what needs to be done after someone has died. The website has a list of organisations that can offer support. The website also has a live chat function.

UK phone: 0800 0246 121

International phone: +44 8000 246 121 or +44 1207 268 681

Email: info@thenbs.org

Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support makes it easy to connect with the right support from your computer, tablet or smartphone. They provide free one-to-one professional support, expert information and resources, and an online forum where you can talk to others in a similar situation.

Organisations and websites for people with advanced cancer

This national charity works to inform and empower people to exercise their rights and choices around end of life care. It helps you plan ahead to ensure your wishes will be respected.

Address:
181 Oxford Street
London W1D 2JT

Phone: 0800 999 2434
Email: info@compassionindying.org.uk

The Funeral Guide website gives practical advice about what to do when someone dies. It includes information about finding a funeral director, organising a funeral, what if someone dies overseas, legal and financial issues. It has a comprehensive list of funeral directors and other organisations that can help you. 

72 Paris St
Exeter
EX1 2JY

Email: support@funeralguide.co.uk 

An online comprehensive guide to planning a funeral. It covers what to do after a death, how to organise a funeral, and how to deal with legalities and financial issues. It also lists a number of organisations to help you.

The Good Funeral Guide website is run by a not-for-profit social enterprise company. The website provides information about funerals and has a recommended list of funeral directors. The company visit funeral directors and assess their services every 3 years.

8 Savay Close

Denham Green

UB9 5NQ

Contact form

Hospice UK answers enquiries about any aspect of hospice care. The website includes a directory of hospice services in the UK and Ireland.

34 - 44 Britannia Street
London
WC1X 9JG

Telephone: 0207 520 8200

Contact form

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.

Phone: 0300 123 1801
Email: enquiries@maggiescentres.org

This section of the NHS website contains information about what you can expect during end of life care and the things you may want to think about. These include how and where you want to be cared for and financial issues.

The Resuscitation Council (UK) website has detailed information on decisions about resuscitation and your rights. 

Address:
5th Floor
Tavistock House North
Tavistock Square
London
WC1H 9HR

Phone: 020 7388 4678  (10 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday)

This site offers support to children between 12 and 16 who have a parent with cancer. There is information about cancer and a forum to share experiences.

The Natural Death Centre gives support and information to help people die naturally at home. It advises on arranging inexpensive and environmentally friendly funerals. It also offers counselling.

Address:
The Hill House
Watley Lane
Twyford
Winchester
SO21 1QX
Tel: 01962 712 690
Email: rosie@naturaldeath.org.uk

Specific symptoms organisations

A charity that is being run entirely by volunteers. They provide support, advice, and help to people affected by chronic pain and those close to them.

Telephone helpline (Painline): 0345 603 1593
Email: painline@action-on-pain.co.uk

The Bladder and Bowel Community is a UK service for people with bladder and bowel control conditions. They have information and support services, including an online support group. It is for anyone affected by these conditions as well as their families, carers and healthcare professionals.

Address:

Bladder and Bowel Community
Forward House,
17 High Street
Henley-in-Arden
B95 5AA

Email: help@bladderandbowel.org

Home Delivery Service Sign Up: 0800 031 5406

Home Delivery Service Existing Customers: 0800 031 5407

Breast Cancer Now provides breast cancer information and support across the UK. All services are free and include a helpline, website, publications and practical and emotional support.

Helpline: 0808 800 6000
Contact form

The BLS is mainly for health professionals caring for people with lymphoedema. They aim to encourage research and produce guidelines.

Address:
The Garth House
Rushey Lock
Tadpole Bridge
Buckland Marsh
Nr Faringdon
Oxfordshire
SN7 8RF

Telephone: 01452 790178

 

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

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

A registered charity that aims to improve the lives of those with lymphoedema. They actively contribute to improving the management of lymphoedema worldwide, especially in developing countries. They have a number of booklets that can be downloaded free of charge. Their head office is in Denmark.

Email: info@lympho.org

Tel: 0045 7020 0305 (International phone number from the UK)

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, videos about self management techniques for lymphoedema, and a newsletter.

Telephone: 020 7351 4480
Email: admin@lsn.org.uk

MLD UK promotes public awareness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). They publish a register of practitioners of MLD.

Telephone: 0844 800 1988
Email: admin@mlduk.org.uk

A support group for anyone who suffers from chronic pain. They deliver self management training to help those with chronic pain.

Freephone: 0800 783 6059 (Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 4.30 pm)
Email: info@painassociation.com

Pain Concern 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 that feature interviews with experts and people managing their pain. You can also subscribe to their newsletter, Pain Matters.

Helpline: 0300 123 0789
Email: help@painconcern.org.uk

This organisation provides information and support for people who need artificial feeding. They also have regional support groups for PINNT members.

PO Box 3126
Christchurch
Dorset
BH23 2XS

Telephone: 020 3004 6193
Email: comms@pinnt.com

Organisations that provide equipment

The British Red Cross provides emotional support, mobility aids services, refugee services, help at home, financial support, and support to find missing families. They also have a range of free mental health resources and practical advice on how to prepare for emergencies. 

Address:
44 Moorfields
London 
EC2Y 9AL

Support line: 0808 196 3651 (10 am - 6 pm daily)

General enquiries: 0844 871 111
Email: contactus@redcross.org.uk

Offers mobility aids at low cost to help both elderly people and disabled adults and children. Has an extensive range of daily living aids and disability equipment. 

Complete Care Shop
330 Four Oaks Rd
Walton Summit Centre
Preston
PR5 8AP

Phone: 03330 160 000 (Monday - Friday: 8 am - 8pm, Saturday - Sunday: 8.30 am - 5.30 pm)
Email - to place an order or for customer services: customerservice@completecareshop.co.uk

This is an online shop for daily living equipment for the disabled community, older people, or those who look after people with difficulty getting around.

Email: customerservice@essentialaids.com
Phone: 01273 719 889

Living Made Easy

Living Made Easy was previously known as The Disabled Living Foundation. They give information and advice on equipment and aids to help with daily living.
Helpline: 0300 123 3084 (9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday)
Email: enquiries@dlf.org.uk

Organisations that can help with issues of sex and sexuality

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

Telephone: 020 8106 9635
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. 

Contact form
Helpline: 0800 074 8383

Relate 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.

Information on sexual problems. They provide lists of local specialist practitioners, as well as factsheets on problems such as erectile dysfunction (impotence).

Organisations and websites for carers

Donating in someone’s name is a special way to honour their memory. Every pound helps fund life-saving research.

This is part of the NHS website. It can help you with information about caring for someone else.

The Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. They work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

Phone: 0300 772 9600
Email: info@carers.org

Gives information and support to carers on many issues. It has local groups all over the UK and the head office puts you in touch with your local group.

Address:
20 Great Dover Street
London 
SE1 4LX
Helpline: 0808 808 7777 (Monday - Friday, 9 am to 6 pm)
Email: advice@carersuk.org

The National Association of Funeral Directors can advise on arranging funerals. It gives information on the services provided by funeral directors and advises on what to do after someone has died. It also has a list of funeral directors across the UK.

Address:
618 Warwick Road
Solihull
West Midlands
B91 1AA
Telephone: 0121 711 1343
Email: info@nafd.org.uk

Nursing home advice and information

Age UK provides information, advice and support for people in later life.

7th Floor

One America Square

17 Crosswall

London

EC3N 2LB

Advice line: 0800 678 1602 (8 am-7 pm, 365 days a year)

This organisation provides independent advice about care homes in the UK and Ireland, including a directory listing homes by geographic region.  

Phone: 01483 203066

General support and information organisations

An independent network that provides free advice about money, legal issues, housing health and social welfare issues. Often provides advice in English and other languages.

Disability Rights UK provides an information and advice service and campaigns for disabled people's rights. They also provide radar keys that give access to toilets throughout the UK for people who might need to use a toilet in a hurry. 

Plexal
14 East Bay Lane
Here East
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Stratford
London
E20 3BS

Phone: 0330 995 0404
Email: enquiries@disabilityrightsuk.org

Family Action helps families with the most complex and difficult issues they are facing. This includes financial difficulties, mental health problems, social isolation, learning disabilities, domestic abuse, or substance misuse and alcohol problems.

Phone: 0808 802 6666 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm)
Text: 07537 404 282

Email:  familyline@family-action.org.uk

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

For general health advice and information.

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

Phone: 111

NHS 24 is a website for people in Scotland. It has information about:

  • 111 - If you need urgent health advice when your GP Practice or Dental Surgery is closed
  • NHS Inform - which is Scotland's health information service. It offers quality assured health and care information via a website and phone service

SCOPE

SCOPE is a disability equality charity in England and Wales. They provide practical information and emotional support when it's most needed. They also campaign to create a fairer society.

Phone: 0808 800 3333
Email: helpline@scope.org.uk

Books for people dying with cancer

If you are dying from cancer - easy read

Who can help if you are dying - easy read

Getting ready to die - easy read

Thinking about your funeral - easy read

Making decisions about the future if you are dying - easy read

The end of life - easy read

Changes that can happen at the end of life - easy read

Choosing where to die - easy read

Spirituality and religion at the end of life - easy read

A guide for the end of life

Planning ahead at the end of life

Your step by step guide to making a will

Sorting out your affairs

Y Menuhin and R Reoch
Hamlyn, 2000
ISBN 1856750191

This guide shows how openness, advance planning and the use of complementary therapies can benefit dying people. It covers therapies, exercises and perspectives on death, emotions, attitudes and intimate needs. An extensive resources section tells readers where to find more help and support.

R B Patt and S S Lang
Oxford University Press, 2006
ISBN 9780195312027

Written to help people with cancer and their close friends and family make decisions about living with cancer and managing symptoms. Some sections are specific to the US. But it is still helpful for people in the UK

Charles Cowling
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010
ISBN 1441133224

This practical guide talks about the choices available when arranging a funeral. It covers all aspects of planning a service and creating a ceremony that both commemorates and celebrates a life, and provides comfort, inspiration, and good memories.

Books for carers of people dying with cancer

Going to a funeral when someone dies - easy read

What can help you feel better when someone dies

How you may feel when someone dies

Grief and loss when someone dies

Julia Neuberger
Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 2004
ISBN 1-857759-45-1

A helpful, practical book that discusses the issues that arise when looking after people from different faiths and cultures. Looks at Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist faiths.

Julie Spencer-Cignoz
Age Concern books, 2003
ISBN 0862423678

Has information and practical advice for people caring for someone who lives some distance away. Has information on keeping in touch, financial support, and caring for physical and emotional needs.

Caring for someone who is dying (Carer's handbook)
Penny Mares
Age Concern Books, 2003
ISBN 0862423708

Combines practical information about money and legal matters with coping with the illness and issues of grief and bereavement. Talks about the role of hospitals, hospices and community cancer care teams. Has some carer’s stories.

Robert Buckman
Britnell Book Wholesalers, 2000
ISBN 1550130927

Helps family, carers and friends support and care for a dying person. Discusses how to talk and listen and outlines the dying process.

Books about dying with cancer

Dorothy Rowe
Harper Perennial, 2007
ISBN 000736914X

This book discusses fear of loss, bereavement, old age and death, and has guidance on how to work with fear. Written by a psychologist.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care, 2011

Helps patients and carers to know what to expect when someone nears the end of life. Covers being looked after at home, the last few weeks and days, nearing death, and care after death. Covers practical and emotional issues. Available from Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Stephen Levine
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010
ISBN 030777368X

Sensitively explores all aspects and issues of death. Especially the feelings and emotions people might experience when they or a loved one is dying.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and J Hopkins
Atria Books, 2004
ISBN 978-0743244695

Discusses how to approach death as a natural part of life. It is written in a warm, humorous and sensitive style.

The Natural Death Centre
Strange Attractor Press, 2012
ISBN 1907222057

These books have comprehensive information about arranging funerals and working with funeral directors to get the best care. They cover preparing for dying and caring for a dying person, drawing up a will, living wills and memory boxes. The 5th edition contains more detailed information and includes essays on dying by various well-known authors.

Books about coping after someone has died

Royal Society of Psychiatrists

This sensitively written booklet discusses adult bereavement in a light-hearted way. Available from The Royal Society of Psychiatrists.

C Murray-Parkes, P Laungani and W Young
Routledge, 2015
ISBN 1317520920

Discusses beliefs about death and mourning and how people use ritual to cope with death.

C Sawyer and M Spero
Routledge, 2015
ISBN 9780415720519

Covers the law and issues you need to be aware of when dealing with wills and probate. Also discusses what happens if there is no will.

Harriet Sarnoff Schiff
Souvenir Press, 1979
ISBN 9780285648913

A sensitively written book that discusses all the issues that affect parents who have lost a child. Contains many personal accounts.

Susan Wallbank
Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, 2010
ISBN 0232526397

Covers the death of a partner and the effects this has. Looks from the point of view of various groups of people.

T Romain and E Verdick
Free Spirit Publishing Inc, 2003
ISBN 1575420554

Describes the emotions people have after the death of a close friend or relative and advises how to cope.

Paul Harris
Which? Books, 2009
ISBN 1844900711

Covers the law and describes issues you need to be aware of. Has a list of useful addresses.

Earl A. Grollman
Beacon Press, 1993
ISBN 9780807025017

Discusses how to talk about and cope with grief after the death of a close friend or relative.

Books about cancer

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.

A Ko, E Rosenbaum and M Dollinger
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2009
ISBN 9780740786310

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.

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.

Dr P Mortimer and‎ G Levine
Elliott & Thompson, 2017
ISBN 1783962852

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.

J F Kelvin and L B Tyson
Jones and Bartlett Publishing, 2010
ISBN 978-0763777609

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
ISBN 0763762571

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
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.

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Last reviewed: 
25 Apr 2022
Next review due: 
25 Apr 2025

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