12 January 2016
Every year, around 350,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer. This equates to over 5,900 diagnoses in Birmingham and Solihull alone.
There are many different types of the disease. Too often, people struggle to find information that could help them cope with some of the distressing medical, emotional, practical and financial issues. This may be because they don’t know where to look, find it intimidating to ask health or social care professionals for help, or are simply overwhelmed by the information that is out there, especially on the internet.
That’s why Macmillan produces information on a wide range of cancer topics, including different types of cancer, cancer treatments, coping with emotions, and dealing with practical issues such as work and travel.
This award-winning information appears in the Macmillan Information and Support Centres across the West Midlands, along with trained staff and volunteers to help answer your questions. It can also be seen on and ordered from Macmillan’s website.
But how does Macmillan produce it all?
Sue Green is the Senior Information Development Nurse at Macmillan. She works with a team of nurses, content developers and editors to produce the information:
'Some members of the team have been practising nurses and have looked after people affected by cancer. That’s where we draw our knowledge from: we know about caring for people with cancer as we’ve done it ourselves. Our experience helps us write information about treatments such as chemotherapy and stem cell support to things like fertility and dietary issues.
'Content writers also look at research articles and guidelines. It’s our job to put complex information into simple language that anyone can understand. For example, how some cancer drugs work or understanding the different stages of a particular cancer can be very complicated. Helping people understand their situation can help them make informed decisions about their treatment and care.
Sue continued: 'Then our editors and content channel editors put together the resources that you see - they take the text we have worked on and add photographs and illustrations to create the booklets and website information. We also provide some information as CDs and ebooks and have some information in other languages.
'And Macmillan is a member of the Information Standard. This means we have been assessed to ensure that our information is clear, accurate, evidence-based and up-to-date. All our information is reviewed by relevant specialists - so this might be oncologists, surgeons, radiographers and clinical nurse specialists. But it is also reviewed by people affected by cancer.
'It’s rewarding to be part of a team that produces high-quality information. We know it makes a real difference to people who are going through one of the most challenging experiences of their lives. Our information is for people diagnosed with cancer, but also for relatives, friends and colleagues.
'One person wrote to us after using our resources and said: “My Mum received the news she had cancer for the second time. I felt helpless and sat very upset that evening. I logged onto the website and ordered some amazingly helpful literature. This support made me feel less alone and helpful while awaiting the surgery and prognosis.’”
No one should face cancer alone. If you need support, or just someone to talk to, call 0808 808 0000 view our pages.