Groups and organisations

Talking about cancer can be difficult. Even with caring friends and family, sometimes it’s easier to share your experience with someone you don’t know. If you feel this way, there are groups, organisations and healthcare professionals that can help you. These include:

  • Telephone helpline services – such as our cancer support line.
  • Trained counsellors, who can help you find ways to cope with your feelings. Your GP may be able to refer you.
  • Support groups led by people with cancer. Other members may understand what you’re going through or give you a new perspective.
  • Online support groups or chat rooms. You can stay anonymous and chat instantly to other people affected by cancer. Visit our online community.

Our cancer support specialists on 0800 808 00 00 can help you find out what’s available in your area.

Who should I talk to about my cancer?

Some people have a close circle of family and friends who can give them a lot of support, while others don’t have many people to support them.

Even with a supportive family and a wide circle of friends it can be difficult to talk about cancer at times. You may feel very isolated and that only people who’ve experienced cancer can understand how you’re feeling. How people react may also surprise you – some may disappoint you while others may be more supportive than you had expected.

The best person to talk to is whoever you usually talk to about important issues or difficult problems. This could be anyone – your partner, your closest friend, your mother, sister, brother or a religious leader. It may be somebody who is going through a similar experience. Often, people with cancer find it difficult to talk to close family or friends, and easier to speak to someone they don’t know. If this is your situation there are a number of groups, organisations and healthcare professionals that can help you.


Cancer support helplines

You may find it helpful to contact an organisation that runs a telephone helpline service for people with cancer. These helpline services are often run by healthcare professionals. You can contact our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 for support and more information about other specialist helpline services.


Counselling for people with cancer

It can sometimes help to talk to a counsellor, especially if you feel very low and depressed. Counsellors are trained to listen and help people talk through their problems. They won’t give advice or answers, but will help you find your own answers. Talking one-to-one with a trained counsellor can help you sort out your feelings and find ways of coping with them. This can be very helpful, particularly if you aren’t able to discuss your feelings and emotions with people close to you. You may need to pay for counselling. GP practices and hospitals often have their own counsellors or can refer you to one. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy can also give you details of counsellors in your area.


Cancer Support groups

Most areas of the UK have cancer support groups. These are usually led by people with cancer, sometimes with support from a healthcare professional. Other members of the group may be in a similar position to you. It’s quite usual for a group to include people with different types and stages of cancer. You may find this wider experience helps you see your own problems from a different perspective.

Our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 can let you know about support groups in your area.

Some people find groups very helpful and form close relationships with other members. However, others get embarrassed or uncomfortable when talking about personal issues with strangers. If groups aren’t your style, don’t worry.

Search for support in your area

Find out how you can meet other people who understand what you’re going through and see details of support groups near you.


Online support for people with cancer

If you’re an internet user, you may want to join an online support group. There are a number of these groups and some are aimed at particular types of cancer, while others are more general. They’re easy to join and you can ‘talk’ to other people in real time. If you prefer, you can stay anonymous and just read other people’s emails or posts. These messages can be both uplifting and sad.

This can be very helpful, as you can find that other people have similar thoughts, emotions and experiences. It can make you feel less alone and help you learn how to cope with your treatment and live with cancer. Online groups are easy to leave, without any need for personal contact or explanations.

Our Online Community lets you talk to people in our forums, blog your experiences, make friends and join support groups. You can share your own thoughts and feelings, and get support from others.

Macmillan's Online Community

Macmillan's Online Community

Macmillan's Online Community is a place for people affected by cancer to come together, share stories, find information and support each other.

Join Macmillan's Online Community

Macmillan's Online Community

Macmillan's Online Community is a place for people affected by cancer to come together, share stories, find information and support each other.

Join Macmillan's Online Community

Back to Who should I talk to?

Your partner

Discussing concerns with your partner can help you feel supported. Allow yourselves time and privacy.

Healthcare staff

There are ways to get all the information and support you need from healthcare staff.

Benefits of talking

Talking about your cancer can help you make decisions and feel less anxious.