Macmillan Cancer Support is rightly placed on our list as the second biggest British-focused cancer charity. It provides financial support, information and specialist health care for all people affected by the disease. Further to this though, it also helps with the medical needs of cancer sufferers and looks into the practical, emotional and social impact cancer has and funds campaigns for improved care for cancer patients throughout the country. The main goal of the charity is to reach out to everyone whose lives are affected by the disease in the country and improve things for them.
Over 107 years ago, in 1911, the then-called Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer was established by the charity’s eventual namesake Douglas Macmillan. He was moved to establish the organisation following his father’s death from cancer. It kept its first name until 1924 when it was then changed to become the National Society for Cancer Relief. That name stuck with the organisation until 1989 when it was changed again to Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund and later, Macmillan Cancer Relief.
Finally, though, in 2006 on April the 5th it took on the Macmillan Cancer Support moniker because it described the charity’s role better in its support of cancer sufferers and those affected by the disease. Two of its guiding principles are to be a force for change and source of support.
Their Work – Ambition
In everything they do to support individuals suffering from this terrible disease, they spend time understanding them as people, to give them the best inspiration, tools and support possible. They take this approach because they realise everyone’s journey through cancer is unique. The charity also appreciates that receiving a cancer diagnosis impacts a lot more than just an individual’s health. It has a direct impact on family, friends, work and paying bills. With all of that going on though, they know that a person with cancer is still a person and should be treated as such, not like a patient at death’s door.
Their support starts from the diagnosis through to the point when, hopefully an individual is free of the disease, but if not, to the point where they can live and enjoy their life as best as they can.
Our Life with Cancer advertising campaign drives home the message that while for many people cancer can be a life-changing experience, it doesn’t need to be life-defining.
Valuable Cancer Information
One of the huge ways they help people living with cancer is by providing valuable information about cancer and all related subjects. They carry in-depth, but easy to understand information on the following:
- More than 60 different kinds of cancer
- Different treatments for cancer
- Managing side effects and symptoms
- Practical issues such as travel, work and money
- Coping with feelings and emotions
The information is made available free and can be obtained in various formats and languages. This information is current, expert and independent and is based on an editorial policy ensures that it is based on the most current evidence available and reviewed and checked every couple of years. Rather than being filled with hard-to-understand jargon, it is published in plain English and the charity try to ensure as wide a range of people in the country can access it as possible.
Macmillan Cancer Support and Inclusion
Macmillan Cancer Support have an Inclusion team that is dedicated to understanding how cancer support and care varies from different groups of sufferers and works hard to make it more relevant and fairer for all cancer patients. Over the last couple of years or more, there have been amazing innovations and improvements in how care is delivered and treatment given cancer patients.
Despite the progress being made, there are still huge inequalities that often play a pivotal role in a patient’s chance of survival. Because of the inequalities, diagnosis speed and quality are often different, as is the availability of different kinds of treatments. According to the charity, the inequalities are seen most clearly in:
- Patient’s quality of experience, that includes the relationship between cancer medical professionals and patients
- Equal voice, particularly regarding those who come from the most ignored communities in the country
- Self-management, that includes the accessibility of peer-support activities, patient leadership and involvement.
Macmillan believe that the barriers and inequalities that some cancer patients have to experience can be overcome. They feel this can be done by focusing more intently on tackling inequality head-on, while trying to ascertain the root causes of it, to ensure everyone gets the outstanding care and support they deserve and need.
They Make Changes Happen
Macmillan determine what matters the most to people suffering or affected by cancer and fight to get them the best deal. They will continue to fight in the corner of those living with the disease, working with government and shaping policy to improve their level of support, care and lives in general.