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 us a question online.
Cancer Chat is our online forum where you can share experiences.
Specific rare cancer organisations and sites
The Rare Cancer Alliance offer support and information to people affected by rare cancers. It has a forum where you might be able to meet others with the same cancer as you.
Specific cancer organisations and sites
GIST Cancer UK is a network of people with GIST and their relatives. Everyone involved has experience of GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumours). The website has brief information about GIST and its treatment and a list of links. The organisation runs phone and email support networks and a forum.
Support line: 0300 400 0000
Lymphoma Action gives emotional support and medical information on all aspects of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Their services are free to people with lymphoma and their family and friends.
They run local support groups for people with lymphoma around the country. They also have a buddy scheme for putting patients in touch with each other by phone. And they produce leaflets and a newsletter.
The Lymphoma Action online forum is available 24 hours a day.
Tel: 0808 808 5555 (10 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday)
Mouth Cancer Foundation is a charity that supports people affected by head and neck cancer. Its website has information about mouth, throat and other head and neck cancers. The website also has a forum and information on local support groups.
Tel: 01924 950 950 (Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm)
General support and information organisations
For general health advice and information.
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.
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
Teenage Cancer Trust is a national charity providing specialist units, expert staff, support events, education and information for 13-24 year old’s diagnosed with cancer and their friends and families.
The Teenage Cancer Trust also work closely with healthcare professionals and researchers to lead the way on developing cancer care for teenagers and young adults.
Tel: 020 7612 0370
NHS 111 gives information if you need fast medical help but it's not a 999 emergency.
Organisations that provide equipment
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
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: email@example.com
Specific symptoms organisations
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
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
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
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.
Tel: 0045 7020 0305 (International phone number from the UK)
The BLS is mainly for health professionals caring for people with lymphoedema. They aim to encourage research and produce guidelines.
Telephone: 01452 790 178
Breast Cancer Now is a charity dedicated to funding breast cancer research. They also provide breast cancer information and support across the UK. Services are free and include a helpline, website, publications, and practical and emotional support. It was formed by the merger of The Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer in 2015.
5th Floor Ibex House
42 - 47 Minories
Tel: 0808 800 6000
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The contact details for the skin camouflage service are:
Phone: 0300 0120 276
Organisations that can help with issues of sex and sexuality
Relate provide relationship counselling to couples and individuals throughout the UK. There is often a waiting list. Clients are asked to contribute towards the cost of their counselling sessions according to their income. They also provide counselling services by telephone or email. You can ring them to find out about Relate's services and your nearest Relate Centre or Relate counsellor.
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 sex and cancer
This booklet from Macmillan Cancer Support 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.
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.