Why We Exist

Cancer Support UK provides practical and psychological support to people with cancer, during and after the treatment period. We support people with all kinds of cancer across the UK. Our services are designed and delivered by people who have experienced cancer themselves to improve the experience of others.

In 2016 we undertook a comprehensive review of the charity as a whole, of our services, and the external environment in which we operate. We looked at what provision was already out there for people with cancer and sought to identify where there remained gaps in support.

We felt the areas of cancer research and cancer prevention are already delivered well by other charities and public bodies, so it was decided we would no longer continue to invest in these areas. As a charity with limited resources we do not want to duplicate work that is already being delivered. We want to focus on where we can make the most impact.

Despite a number of contributors providing prevention, diagnostics, treatment and support for people throughout the cancer journey, 78% of cancer patients in the UK still report having unmet emotional needs. We believe this figure is unacceptable. Furthermore, the National Cancer Strategy states, “Patients across the country report that poor communication is the aspect of care most in need of improvement… and in the level of compassion and empathy they receive’. (Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020).

Rather than being seen as ancillary, we believe emotional or psychological support for people with cancer is essential to recovery, and there is a growing body of scientific research to support this. Psychosocial factors play a significant role in the progression of cancer and can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life.

This is why we have now refocused our services to concentrate on emotional and practical support – to make the biggest impact we can, with the resources that we have, for people living with cancer.