Your say on how we can create a better future for people with cancer

Published: 11 October 2023

Earlier this year, we invited as many people as possible to have their say by answering a number of questions in a short survey. We received nearly 5000 responses to the survey and we’ve reviewed every single answer. Here we share some of key themes to your responses.

Portrait image of Emily Griffiths.

Emily Griffiths Senior Research Insight Analyst at Macmillan

Your say on Macmillan's future

Earlier this year, we started working to create a vision of Macmillan that is shaped side by side with the people and communities we exist to support. We’re talking to people with lived experience of cancer, healthcare professionals, colleagues, supporters, volunteers, and partners.  

As part of this work, we invited as many people as possible across the UK to have their say by answering a number of questions in a short survey

  • What concerns you most about cancer now?

  • What makes you feel hopeful for people with cancer?

  • If you had your wish, what are the top 3 things you would like Macmillan to focus on?

The survey closed in September and we received nearly 5000 responses.

Thank you to everyone who took part. We reviewed every single answer and now we'd like to share with you some of the key themes from the answers we received.

Writing Macmillan’s next chapter together

Watch the video below to learn more about the work we are doing in collaboration to create a vision of Macmillan for the future to do more for people affected by cancer.

Themes from the survey

Here are the 10 most common themes from the survey: 


  1. 1. The NHS and the cancer workforce 
  2. 2. Joining up a disconnected healthcare system  
  3. 3. Improvements in diagnosis, treatments and how people manage their risk of cancer 
  4. 4. Cancer being prioritised by decision makers
  5. 5. Tailored care and support for every person with cancer
  6. 6. Better awareness and knowledge of cancer 
  7. 7. More help for the loved ones and carers of people with cancer 
  8. 8. Financial cost of cancer 
  9. 9. Mental health and emotional support 
  10. 10. Unequal, unfair and inconsistent experience of cancer care  

What you are concerned about

Responses to the survey had some key themes when it came to people's concerns.
You're worried about:

  • The struggling NHS and cancer workforce, and how this is affecting care for people with cancer

  • The financial cost of cancer
  • A lack of information and poor communication from healthcare professionals

  • Having a poorer experience of cancer care depending on where you live or if you are from a marginalised community

What gives you hope

There were also some key themes when it came to what gives you hope. You're hopeful about:

  • More people are being diagnosed sooner and treatment is getting better

  • More people are aware of, understand and talk about cancer
  • Hardworking and compassionate cancer care professionals

  • Care is becoming more and more personal


Where you think Macmillan should focus

Finally, here are some of the key themes that came through in your responses when we asked you where you think Macmillan should focus:

  • The different types of support people with cancer need the most from us

  • Whether we also support loved ones and carers of people with cancer
  • Specific moments in a cancer journey where we can make a bigger difference

  • The other work we could be doing as well as providing support, such as influencing decision makers, educating and innovating

  • Improving how we work to make the most impact

  • How we support the cancer care system
  • Our role in tackling health inequalities in cancer care

Next steps

Based on the responses, we have setup dedicated teams of colleagues to answer big questions about financial support, cancer care innovation, living well with the long-term consequences of cancer, tailored care and support and the cancer workforce. 

We will use this insight alongside other evidence to make the best possible decisions about how Macmillan should evolve to ensure we are providing the best support for people with cancer now and in the future. 

We will keep you updated on our progress. Please visit Transforming Macmillan Together for the latest.