Resources and support

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

General Medical Helpline: 020 8994 9874 (Mondays to Fridays, 6pm to 8pm)

The Medical Advisory Service offers information and advice on medical and health care matters.

For general health advice and information.

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

Phone: 111

Confidential telephone health advice and information service for people in Scotland.

NHS Helpline: 0800 22 44 88 (8am to 10pm – for details of pharmacies, GP practices and dentists in Scotland. Can also give information about illnesses, treatments and NHS services)

NHS 24 Helpline: 08454 24 24 24 (for when you are feeling ill and your doctor's surgery is closed)

Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. They provide practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. They provide booklets on cancer and treatments and run a helpline providing cancer information and benefits advice.

Phone: 0808 808 0000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm – information available in other languages)
Textphone: 0808 808 0121

Organisations that provide equipment

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.

Phone: 01273 719889

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. 

Brook Mill Industrial Estate
Station Road
Wrea Green

Phone: 0845 5194734, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – local rates apply from a landline
Mobile number: 01772 675040

Specific symptoms organisations

The Bladder and Bowel Foundation formed in 2008 from the former organisations Incontact and the Continence Foundation. It 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 pubs etc. They ask for a £5 donation to receive this card.

Nurse helpline for medical advice: 0845 345 0165
General enquiries: 01536 533255

A UK support group for ostomates. The Colostomy Association provides information and support for anyone with a colostomy.

Helpline: 0800 328 4257 (24hr helpline)
Tel: 0118 939 1537 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday)

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, 8am to 4.30pm)

Provides support, advice and help in various ways to people affected by chronic pain and those close to them.

Tel: 01362 820750
PainLine 0845 6031593 (From 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday)

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.

Telephone: 0131 669 5951
Helpline: 0300 123 0789 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is the only body in the UK representing the whole of the dietetic workforce. The website provides a large amount of information for anyone interested in food and nutrition

British Dietetic Association 
3rd Floor Interchange Place,
151-165 Edmund Street,
B3 2TA
United Kingdom


Tel: 0121 200 8080

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

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.

Telephone: 020 7351 0990 (Administration)

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. 


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

Telephone: 01452 790 178

MLD UK promotes public awareness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) from the point of view of both the patient and practitioners for people with lymphoedema. They publish a register of practitioners of MLD.

Telephone: 0844 800 1988

Organisations that can help with issues of sex and sexuality

Offers private and confidential counselling, and psychosexual therapy to help with relationship problems.

Telephone: 0300 100 1234

Provides information about the help and therapy available for sexual difficulties.

Telephone: 020 8543 2707

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

Telephone 020 7486 7262 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9am to 5pm)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Books about sex and cancer

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

A practical guide to sexual health and enjoyment. 

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.

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. 

Booklets and factsheets from other organisations

Booklets and CDs available from Macmillan Cancer Support. Examples include:

  • Managing breathlessness
  • Relax and breathe CD
  • Controlling cancer pain 
  • Controlling the symptoms of cancer
  • Coping with hair loss
  • Coping with fatigue
  • Healthy eating and cancer
  • How are you feeling? The emotional effects of cancer
  • Understanding cancer research trials (clinical trials)
  • Understanding lymphoedema
  • Managing Cancer Pain – information for patients
  • Help the Aged – Pain in Older People: Reflections and Experiences from an older person's perspective
  • Intrathecal drug delivery systems for treating pain and spasticity – information for patients
  • Managing pain effectively using over the counter (OTC) medicines
  • Pain management programmes for adults – information for patients
  • Pain and problem drug use – information for patients
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation for pain – information for patients
  • Use of medicines outside of their UK marketing authorisation in pain management and palliative medicine – information for patients
  • Opioid medicines for persistent pain – information for patients
  • Understanding and Managing Pain
  • Turning it Around – Cancer and Nutrition (DVD)

Information leaflets:

  • Teenage lymphoedema
  • Early childhood lymphoedema
  • Lipoedema
  • Head, face and neck lymphoedema
  • Genital lymphoedema
  • Management of oedema in advancing disease
  • Multi layer lymphoedema bandaging (MLLB)
  • Emotional and social aspects of lymphoedema
  • The use of KinesioTape in lymphoedema management
  • Management of cellulitis in lymphoedema
  • Skin care
  • Healthy eating
  • Recreational exercise with lymphoedema
  • Holidays and travel
  • Reducing the risk of lower limb lymphoedema
  • Swollen feet and legs
  • The use of compression garments in lymphoedema management
  • Manual drainage for people with lymphoedema
  • What is cellulitis
  • General information about lymphoedema
  • Reducing the risk of upper limb lymphoedema
  • Breast and truncal oedema
  • Coping with lymphoedema following a mastectomy or lumpectomy
  • Lymphoedema associated with chronic venous insufficiences
  • Diuretics and lymphoedema

And DVDs:

  • Self management techniques for arm lymphoedema
  • Self management techniques for leg lymphoedema

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.

Last reviewed: 
24 Apr 2020
Next review due: 
24 Apr 2023

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