Volunteer Resources

Here you'll find resources and support to help you feel confident about speaking with people affected by cancer whilst volunteering.

Understanding cancer

You don’t have to be a cancer expert to be able to support people affected by cancer. Don’t be afraid to ask for a bit more information if the person you are speaking to uses medical terminology or any words you don’t understand to describe their experiences. 

If you would like to know more about cancer: 

Listen, Acknowledge, Refer

Our volunteer prompt card was designed to help prepare volunteers for speaking with people affected by cancer. 

It is neatly contained in a pass holder and can be kept in your pocket as a helpful reminder of the Listen, Acknowledge, Refer volunteering model.

We will soon have an interactive video on Learnzone, which will provide more information about the model as well as the opportunity to try out having the conversation yourself before you do it in real life.

Supporting friends and family

The resources below are tailored to friends and family of people living with cancer, to help them support their loved ones through listening and responding. They offer helpful tips and guidance for you to use when volunteering.

A computer screen.

Online information

Get advice on talking with, listening to, and understanding someone who has cancer.

Two women speaking to one another.

Face to face training

Attend a free course on listening and responding. They’re a great way to meet new people, share ideas and build your confidence. See what's available in your local area.

Email us
A person holds up a prompt card.

Be.mac booklets

Order 'Talking to someone who has cancer,' and other printed resources free of charge from Be.Macmillan, or by calling us on 0300 1000 200.

Order free
A person holds up a prompt card.


Read personal accounts from friends and family about how they were affected by a loved one's cancer.


Support for you

If a conversation upsets you please get in touch with your Macmillan contact or volunteer manager to talk it through. 

You may find it's brought up thoughts or feelings regarding your own cancer experience that you'd like to talk about, in which case please do contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm.

You could also visit our 'Key Tools' resource on LearnZone, which includes tips on maintaining your own wellbeing.

Thank you

By giving your time to have those conversations you are doing so much. Sometimes you might feel it’s not enough - but be assured that even just talking to people really helps. Prompting them to find the words to describe events and feelings can help them make sense of what’s happening, and being listened to and heard is reassuring. 

Thank you for all that you do. All of those conversations make a real difference to the lives of people affected by cancer.