Resources and publications

Exploring the attitudes and behaviours of older people living with cancer

Macmillan Cancer Support and Ipsos MORI’s report, Older People Living With Cancer [PDF] is the first of its kind to look at older people’s attitudes towards cancer and its treatment. It identifies new factors which could help explain some of the reasons behind the poorer survival rates among older people. These findings will be of interest to all those with a stake in improving outcomes for older people, including policymakers, commissioners and providers of health services, health professionals and charities.

You can read an executive summary of the report [PDF] and our press release.


The people behind cancer care: patient and staff stories

This report [PDF] presents stories from 10 patients about a range of their experiences of relational care at different points of their cancer journey. It also features a series of stories that have been broken down into quotes from healthcare staff who care for people living with cancer. These quotes provide personal insight into the good and bad aspects of working in NHS trusts and how these experiences can determine the quality of care provided.


The Dividing Line in Cancer Care: discussing the impact cancer inequalities will have in the UK in 2030

Macmillan Cancer Support has commissioned a series of essays [PDF] that explore the impact cancer inequalities will have in the UK in 2030. Experts in different aspects of health, the contributors have approached the issue of equality in cancer care from very different perspectives, but consistent themes emerge.


Evidence on the tolerability and effectiveness of systemic anti-cancer therapy in older people

The National Cancer Equality Initiative (NCEI) was established to bring together key stakeholders from the professions, voluntary sector, academia and equality groups to support, inform and champion efforts to improve cancer outcomes by reducing inequality. The Pharmaceutical Oncology Initiative (POI) is a group of pharmaceutical companies who are all members of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). They work in collaboration with the DH, NHS and other key partners to improve the delivery of cancer services and access to medicines.

In order to better understand the evidence on the clinical effectiveness and tolerability of treating older people with cancer drugs, the NCEI and POI commissioned the Liverpool Reviews and Implementation Group to undertake systematic reviews for breast and kidney cancer. Further reviews are expected for: bowel cancer, chronic myeloid leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lung cancer.

Download the final report [PDF] for more information.


No one overlooked: exploring the experiences of people living with cancer from often-excluded groups

To understand the complex issues driving health inequalities and to identify hidden needs, we need more qualitative research that targets specific seldom heard from groups of people affected by cancer. Macmillan set up an online research community to understand the experiences of people living with cancer from often-excluded groups, looking at how age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation and gender identity may impact on patient experience. Over a period of eight weeks, two professional researchers involved participants from each of these three themes in 70 qualitative research and engagement tasks. Our main aim was to give a genuine voice to participants, and allow them to define and discuss the issues in their own terms.

Download the following reports for more information:


Every Step of the Way: Cancer, Older People and Advocacy

Since 2011, the Inclusion department has been collaborating with the Older Peoples Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL) on a ground-breaking support project for older people affected by cancer.

Peer advocates - many of whom are older people with a cancer experience - provide support to other older people. Peer advocates build trusting relationships which enables those they support to confide their worries and concerns. The project has already begun to make a difference to people who are struggling by encouraging them to voice their opinions on decisions relating to treatment and care. It champions person-centred care by ensuring the right information, all the implications associated with treatment, and the rights of the patient are presented clearly. This allows for any person accessing services and support to confidently make decisions about their own personal care.

We have launched 13 patient stories on the value of the service in our report Every Step of the Way [PDF].


Atlas of Variation: exploring variations in patient experience at commissioner level

Our Atlas of Variation [PDF] in cancer patient experience highlights the challenges to achieving this at commissioner level. The Atlas is based on new analyses which: 

  • Uncover variations in patient experience at commissioner level.
  • Explore the relationship between cancer patient experience and deprivation
  • Explore the impact of cancer programme budget spend on patient experience.


Walking into the Unknown: uncovering the extent, cause and nature of discrimination and inequalities in cancer service provision

Macmillan Cancer Support commissioned this study to better understand the extent, cause and nature of discrimination and inequalities in service provision focusing on individuals who identify themselves as belonging to one or more of four specific groups:

  • Those who experience socio-economic deprivation
  • People from ethnic minority groups
  • Older people
  • People from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups

For more information download the study report: Walking into the Unknown [PDF].