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 they are all vital to shaping the future of cancer services.

How do I become a Cancer Voice?

If you would like to become a Cancer Voice, you will need to first create a profile. Once you have registered as a Macmillan volunteer and are logged into your account, you can set up alerts by managing your profile settings on the 'Your volunteering profile' page. You will then be informed when new opportunities that match your needs become available.

  1. Under the heading 'Subscriptions' ensure your communication preferences are set to daily, weekly or monthly.
  2. Click 'Done' to save.
  3. Then, under the heading 'Opportunity types' click 'Edit' to manage your preferences. 
  4. Tick the alert types that interest you under the 'Using your cancer experience' heading.
  5. Click 'Done' to save.

If you would prefer not to register as a Cancer Voice, but would like to browse the Volunteering Village for Cancer Voice opportunities, simply click the button below. If you find the search too wide, add your postcode to bring up search results closer to home.

What do Cancer Voices do?

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

  • joining a hospital advisory group
  • taking part in a research focus group or workshop
  • participating in service design workshops
  • attending regular steering group meetings
  • reviewing cancer information materials
  • 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
  • responding to online surveys

Just like other Macmillan volunteering opportunities, you can dedicate as much or as little time as you wish. Cancer Voices’ roles include one-off activities as well as ongoing responsibilities, so it really is 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 travel, many can be carried out locally or even from home. 

Your key contribution as a Cancer Voice is your cancer experience and your ability to commit your time, energy and enthusiasm, and for most roles you won't need particular skills. We'll let you know if any of the activities need additional skills. You can find ‘what we’re looking for’ listed on each opportunity to check the criteria. 

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, support, and training that is relevant to the role
  • a chance to attend the Cancer Voices conference
  • information and advice from the Macmillan team relevant to your role
  • access to courses via the Macmillan Learn Zone.
  • support and advice from Macmillan Involvement Coordinators and other Cancer Voices in your region.

About the Cancer Voices Conference

Cancer Voices, new and experienced are invited each year to join us at our annual conference. This 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 Macmillan can improve cancer services
  • meet other people with similar experiences
  • hear about the future direction of Macmillan
  • take part in a variety of workshops. 

 Email us for further information about the conference.

Cancer Voices events in 2019

This year, we held a small, one-day event in Manchester in April. This was followed in September with two one-day conferences in Manchester and London, to allow cancer voices to have a greater opportunity to work with us.

Our event in Manchester allowed cancer voices to shape the programme of work for the year. In total, we were joined by over 120 people over both events. It was hugely inspiring to hear what is important to you, what living well with cancer looks like and how we can work with you to achieve this.

Each day was opened by a motivating and moving panel discussion from people living with cancer. We heard about the value of using personal experiences to effect change and the positive impact it has. You can read about the events in more detail in our report.

Posting an opportunity

Macmillan teams and other organisations can post opportunities for Cancer Voices to get involved in. Please email us if you would like to register to post a Cancer Voices opportunity. The below list outlines the criteria that we consider when reviewing roles:

  • Is the involvement meaningful and the impact clearly communicated in the role description? 
  • Will it be enjoyable and productive for the person affected by cancer?
  • Could someone without a cancer experience carry out the role? If so, it may be a volunteering opportunity?
  • Is the opportunity profit-making or related to a commercial venture? Macmillan’s policy is to only accept opportunities which are voluntary and not for profit.
  • Is information about confidentiality - and what will happen to any data collected - available for the people who participate?    
  • If the opportunity is to participate in a piece of research, Research Ethics Committee approval may be required.
  • Please note that we can't promote ongoing recruitment to involvement networks.

If you're thinking of posting an opportunity open to Cancer Voices who are under 18 years old, please download the following guidance documents and sample forms outlining best practice:

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