Coronavirus restrictions

As coronavirus restrictions ease, it is understandable that this might be a worrying time for people living with cancer. We have advice to help you stay safe.

Easing of coronavirus restrictions

Updated Monday 13 September

As restrictions ease, it is understandable that this might be a worrying and uncertain time for people living with cancer or who are having cancer treatment. Particularly as the number of cases of coronavirus is still rising.

Changes in restrictions are different depending on where you live in the UK. Visit government websites for coronavirus guidance in:

Northern Ireland 

You may be feeling worried, unsure or confused about what it is safe for you to do in your situation. For the last year and a half there have been rules and guidelines about what we can and can’t do. It can feel daunting to face uncertainty and to have to make judgements about what’s best for ourselves or others. This is particularly true for people who are living with cancer or who are having cancer treatment.


What people with cancer can do to keep safe

No matter where you live in the UK and what your local guidelines are, there are some things Macmillan’s cancer specialists are suggesting that can help keep you safe:

  • Have both doses of the vaccine  when they are offered to you. Cancer specialists have agreed that people living with cancer should receive the vaccine. Although it is possible that the vaccines may be slightly less effective for people having some cancer treatments, it is still expected that the vaccine will give useful protection against the virus.
  • Continue to take covid precautions that feel right for you, for example:
    • meet people outside when possible
    • wear a mask in public places or when meeting indoors with people you don’t live with
    • avoid crowds
    • continue with good hand washing/hand sanitising
    • keep rooms well ventilated if you have guests at home.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who have not been vaccinated.
  • If you live with children or anyone else who has not been vaccinated, you can ask them to continue to take extra care.
  • You and your household can carry out regular self-testing for covid  with lateral flow tests. 
  • If anyone has symptoms of covid they should book an NHS test straight away.  You can read more about arranging a test in:
  • You can find out the covid rates in different areas by- using this BBC postcode checker. This may help you make decisions about keeping safe and help you know when you feel comfortable making changes.

In hospital

In hospital and healthcare settings staff are still working hard to manage the transmission of covid. This is to protect patients and staff and to make sure that treatments can continue. This can include things like everyone wearing face-coverings, social distancing in waiting areas, reducing the number of visitors and regular covid testing for staff and people having treatment. These measures will continue even after restrictions are eased.

Coping with uncertainty

Having to cope with uncertainty is always difficult. This can be even harder as we move into a new phase of restrictions easing. You may have a mix of emotions. Some people feel relief that things are moving back to ‘normal’. Others are worried that the changes are happenings too fast and may feel that some restrictions should remain while cases of the virus are increasing. Some may feel angry that they no longer feel protected from other people. 

It can help to talk through your worries with those close to you and your healthcare team. Our support line specialist are available 7 days a week, 8am-8pm on 0808 808 00 00See below for other  ways Macmillan can help.


What support is available

If you are worried about how you will stay safe when restrictions are lifted, you are not alone. Macmillan Cancer Support are doing the best we can to support people. 

You can:

If something is worrying you and you need to talk, we're here to listen. From questions about coronavirus, to cancer treatment, to financial advice, we're here for you.

Find out more about the coronavirus support available and the Macmillan teams that are here to help you.

We know that this will be an anxious time for people with cancer, and taking steps to protect yourself is only part of the solution. At Macmillan, we are here to do whatever it takes to stand with you. 
We are urging our staff, volunteers and the public to keep wearing masks and observe social distancing to protect others in their community. 
We are also supporting the NHS Confederation’s #NotTooMuchToMask campaign.