Shining a light on the nation’s cancer support services

27 February 2020 - by David Allen

It’s now been a year since the official launch of Cancer Care Map – the UK’s first independent map to help people find cancer care and support services using their postcode.

Cancer Care Map launched officially after research found a significant lack of awareness across the UK of the thousands of support and advice services available following a cancer diagnosis.
According to this research, over half (51%) of those in Britain were unaware of emotional support services, such as talking therapy or support groups, despite studies finding ill mental health can affect up to 49% of people with cancer. Just under three quarters also lacked awareness of the financial or practical support available.

In addition, the findings highlighted that:

  • Men are significantly less likely to be aware of the support and advice services available than women. For example, 43% of women were aware of health and wellbeing services, such as complementary therapies, available following a cancer diagnosis compared to 36% of men
  • Cancer support and advice services are most likely to be sought by family members with 20% of all those surveyed doing so on a family member’s behalf, compared to only 7% doing so for themselves
  • Over a quarter (28%) of those surveyed online would turn to the internet first in search for support.

Cancer Care Map was launched to address this information gap, and provide the UK’s only comprehensive directory of cancer-related services for those living with cancer, their friends and family, carers and clinicians.

The pilot site for Cancer Care Map originally opened in February 2018 and has been developed over the past two years with the input of current and former cancer patients, carers and clinical staff. Growing all the time, the site features everything from NHS centres, charity and community led groups to local businesses offering special discounts.

Jonathan Dimbleby, chairand creator of Cancer Care Map and Dimbleby Cancer Care, explains, “These results illustrate a shocking truth – that vital cancer care and support services are available, yet remain hidden to those who need them. 

“Five years ago, a friend asked me to find cancer services for his wife. I realised very quickly that this was frighteningly difficult to do, and that there was no comprehensive resource to help me. With Cancer Care Map, we wanted to create our own site to make sure that nobody facing cancer, goes without the care they need; all you would need is an internet connection and a postcode. The site has already grown tremendously and we’re now incredibly proud to be helping raise awareness across the country of these much-needed services.”

Frazer Scott, 30, from London, and patient ambassador for Cancer Care Map, said: “After a cancer diagnosis, no one gives you a map for what you’ll go through or what you’ll face when you’re in the eye of the storm. Having one place where you can go to armour yourself – as well as your loved ones – to help deal with what’s coming is invaluable.

 “Cancer Care Map will be incredibly helpful to signpost people nationwide to more localised services which can provide them with vital support throughout their journey.”

The Cancer Care Map project has been made possible in part by a grant from Postcode Community Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

To find out more about the medical, health and wellbeing, emotional and practical services that could be available to help you or someone you know, visit cancercaremap.org.

If you there is a service that you would like to add to the map get in touch at cancercaremap.org/contact.

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