Cancer voices

Cancer Voices are people from across the UK who have all been affected by cancer in some way. They share their experiences to help shape cancer services and improve cancer care. There's no such thing as a typical Cancer Voice. They come from all age groups and walks of life. But the one thing they all have in common is that they're absolutely vital to our work.

What do Cancer Voices do?

As a Cancer Voice there are plenty of ways to get involved, including:

  • joining a hospital's advisory group
  • reviewing cancer information materials
  • talking to schools about your cancer experience
  • responding to an online survey
  • taking part in a focus group or workshop
  • attend regular steering group meetings
  • campaigning to change cancer policies with the support of a project team
  • carrying out your own research into the needs of your peers with the support of a project team.

You can take part in one-off activities or make getting involved a regular commitment. It's up to you how active you want to be, how much time you offer and what activities you get involved in. Although some of our opportunities involve travelling, many can be done from home.

For most roles you won't need particular skills. Your key contribution as a Cancer Voice is your cancer experience and your ability to commit your time, energy and enthusiasm. We'll let you know if any of the activities need additional skills.


What support can I get as a Cancer Voice?

We want to make sure you feel happy and confident carrying out different roles. We support you by offering:

  • induction or training relevant to the role
  • attendance at the Cancer Voices conference
  • information and advice from the Macmillan team you will be working with 
  • access to courses via Learn Zone.
  • support and advice from local coordinators and other Cancer Voices in your region. Contact them directly.

How do I get involved?

Simply search by opportunity type, ticking the 'using your cancer experience' category and filter by how close the opportunity is to your location. If you'd like to receive an email alert when a new opportunity that matches your needs becomes available, then there's an option to register for these.


Posting an opportunity

Macmillan teams and other organisations can post opportunities for Cancer Voices to get involved in. If you're interested in posting opportunities then please contact cancervoices@macmillan.org.uk to find out how. 


There are also certain criteria that we take into account when considering a role:

  • Is the involvement meaningful and is the impact clearly communicated in the role description? 
  • Will it be an enjoyable and productive experience for the person affected by cancer?
  • Could someone without an experience of cancer carry out the role? In this case is it actually a volunteering opportunity?
  • Is the opportunity profit-making or related to a commercial venture? It's Macmillan’s policy to accept only opportunities which are voluntary and not for profit.
  • If the opportunity is to participate in a piece of research, have you obtained any Research Ethics Committee approval which may be required? Is information about confidentiality and what will happen to the data collected available for people who participate?  

If you're a Cancer Voices admin, please see the following guidance documents outlining best practice for working with volunteers under 18 years of age:

Conference

Cancer Voices, experienced and new, are invited to join us at our annual conference. This annual two day event is a great opportunity for you to hear about how Cancer Voices and Macmillan are working together, and to find out what new opportunities there are for you to get involved.

You'll be able to: 

  • contribute to discussions, debates and give your input on how we can improve cancer services
  • meet other people who have had similar experiences
  • hear about the future direction of Macmillan
  • benefit from training and skills workshops.  

The conference usually takes place in October and invitations are sent out around July. For further information, please contact cancervoices@macmillan.org.uk

Useful contacts

Macmillan has a network of local coordinators who are there to support you and answer your questions about getting involved with Cancer Voices. Our Macmillan Involvement Coordinators can offer support with:

  • getting involved locally
  • training opportunities
  • joining or setting up a self help and support group in your area