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Cancer Coach - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cancer Coach?
At Cancer Support UK we understand that cancer takes its toll on you not just physically but emotionally as well, and that when your treatment has finished and everyone is expecting you to feel better can be when you feel worst of all.

We also know it is normal to be left with worries, anxieties and concerns after your treatment, sometimes for a long time after, and once you have been discharged there is uncertainty about where to go to get help.

Topics we cover during the 6 weeks include:

• Why we feel the way we do
• Grief and loss
• Patterns of thinking and how to challenge them
• Managing worry
• Goal setting
• Relationships after cancer

You also get the chance to talk to other people that have also had a cancer diagnosis, enabling everyone on the call to receive and give valuable support and encouragement.

Since Cancer Coach support groups take place either online or over the phone, participants do not have to travel to a physical appointment. They can join their sessions from whichever private space they feel most comfortable. The groups are completely free of charge, private and confidential.

What are the benefits of Cancer Coach?

The group helps people who have experienced cancer:

• Better understand why they are feeling the way they are and how they can manage their own challenging emotions
• Be able to reflect on and accept their experience and the impact it has had on their lives
• Put them in touch with others who have had a similar experience
• Give them some easy to use tips and exercises to use at home
• Choose between a daytime or evening group
• Choose between a telephone or online group

Who is Cancer Coach for?
Cancer Coach is for anyone over the age of 18 who has completed treatment for cancer, regardless of whether they finished treatment a few months ago or a few years ago. Participants can be based anywhere in the UK. The groups are suitable for people who have
been diagnosed with an early stage cancer (stage 3 or less)


Why don’t you cater for people with a more advanced or secondary illness?
Cancer Coach has been specifically designed for people who have had their cancer treated and would like support to adapt to living with the status of no evidence of disease. In our experience, the issues that people living with a more advanced or secondary diagnosis require more complex levels of support than we are able to provide. It simply means that Cancer Coach would not be useful for people with more advanced cancers – however we will always try to work with you to signpost you to more appropriate sources of support, such as:


What do I need to take part?
Participants will need:
• A phone line or computer
• A quiet place where they can participate in the weekly calls


Who are the facilitators?
Each Cancer Coach group is facilitated by a trained volunteer who has experience in facilitation, counselling, coaching or training. Many of our facilitators also have a direct experience of cancer.


Why do you use volunteers rather than paid facilitators?

All our volunteer facilitators are professionals who are experienced and qualified in coaching, counselling, training or facilitation. Utilising volunteers as a resource allows us to recruit more facilitators than we could if we paid them, which in turn allows us to run more groups and support more people. All our volunteers are given full training in cancer and cancer treatments, boundaries and confidentiality, safeguarding and further facilitation skills. We also offer our volunteers Mental Health First Aid training and ongoing support and guidance from our CSUK team.


How does the groups work?
• The groups meet once a week, every week for six weeks. Each weekly session last approximately 1 – 1/2 hours.
• You can choose between daytime or evening groups, whichever suit your lifestyle best
• You can choose whether you want to join a telephone group or an online group.

Personal information, such as participants’ contact details, are only ever kept by Cancer Support UK, and never shared with other group members.


How is the service funded? How much will it cost me to join?
Cancer Coach is free of charge and always will be. We do not believe that anyone accessing any type of cancer support should have to pay for it. Our Cancer Coach service is funded by Trust and Grant awards, as well as very kind and generous legacy donations and fundraising events.


Why don’t you offer specific Cancer Coach groups like one just for Breast Cancer patients or one just for Bowel cancer patients?
Cancer Coach groups focus on managing your emotions and mental health, as well as giving you the chance to reflect, talk about what you’ve been through and build resilience for the future. We have found that everyone experiences anxiety, low mood and changing
emotions, regardless of the type of cancer they have had. The one things that brings us together is a shared experience of a cancer diagnosis. Therefore it is not necessary at this time to make our groups cancer specific.


Why is Cancer Coach not suitable for people with a more severe mental health need?
Cancer Coach follows the NHS Psychological Therapies and Support framework and the guidance for providing emotional support for cancer patients. Cancer Coach has been developed to offer Level 1 A/B support, which about giving compassionate support, listening
and signposting. This level of support is suitable for those with mild anxiety and low level low mood. Our staff and facilitators are not are not clinically trained to manage those people who would need a higher level of support, therefore anyone identified as needing this would be signposted back to a more appropriate service.


Do I have to share details about my cancer experience?
No, not unless you want to. Some people feel comfortable enough to share many details about their diagnosis and treatment, some choose not to share any. You will never been pressured into talking about anything you don’t want to. Sometimes it’s useful to share
some details about how you are feeling and the issues that are causing concern for you as it helps you make the most of the group. But if you don’t want to do this that is ok as well.


I am really nervous about joining this type of group – I’ve never done anything like this before
It is very common to feel nervous and apprehensive about joining this type of group. Please let us know if you are feeling this way and we will support you. Our facilitators and Cancer Coach staff are there for you every step of the way to answer any questions you might have and to reassure you. People who are very nervous often find they relax after the first week once they know what to expect.


What happens after the group has finished?
After the six weeks has finished we will then send you our comprehensive signposting and information document that has lots of useful further sources of support should you need it.


How do I get involved?
If you are interested in taking part in a Cancer Coach group please visit our website here and complete our online sign up form.

You can also call Cancer Support UK on 020 3983 7616 or email us at