When your diagnosis of cancer was first confirmed you may well have experienced difficulty in coming to terms with your illness. You may have found that things and relationships which had been fine are now more challenging. Cancer can challenge every aspect of your life. You may feel sad, fearful, angry or ask "why me?" You may be in denial or want to avoid talking about cancer. You may feel alone. These feelings are normal. And it is okay to ask for help or to want someone to listen to your experience. Talking about cancer may be uncomfortable or upsetting, but it often helps you start to feel better. It may help to know that, “around the time of a diagnosis of cancer, approximately half of all patients experience levels of anxiety and depression severe enough to affect their quality of life adversely.” For most, these feelings will subside, but if they do not then it can be invaluable to accept support from a specialist psychological or psychiatric service.
Cancer also affects family, friends and carers. If you support a loved one through cancer, you may have your own emotional needs that you want to look after. This leaflet aims to provide contact details for a range of options for managing the emotional impact of cancer that are tailored to your individual needs, whatever those may be.
Identifying the right support
If the feelings listed above are new to you the range of support options may seem overwhelming. Support ranges from casual drop-in sessions with someone who can offer a listening ear to more structured options such as counselling or psychotherapy.
Some services are labelled as offering mental health support, but provide emotional support on a range of levels and are not restricted to those with specific mental health needs. This leaflet provides information intended to help you choose the right option for you. However, it might take a couple of tries until you find what works for you.
You can also ask your Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or GP about local options. They will have details on referral criteria and waiting times.
Locations, opening hours and contact details are provided along with a brief description of the support that can be accessed. These are intended to help guide you in deciding which organisation might be most suited to your needs. If you would like more information, website addresses are listed to allow you to do some further research. Alternatively, a conversation with your CNS or GP can also provide further information and help with the referral process, if necessary.
This guide covers resources in Cambridgeshire. If you live further afield, your local Macmillan Information Centre, CNS or GP will be better equipped to provide you with details of local organisations that can support you. Some organisations listed in the ‘Voluntary Sector’ section are national charities and may have branches more local to you.
What to do in a mental health crisis
If you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health, dial 111 option 2. (If you are in Wisbech, dial 111 option 1 and ask the call handler to put you through to the First Response Service). Available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The phone is answered by a trained mental health professional who will listen to your concerns and help you to get the support you need.
Resources at CUH
Macmillan CUH cancer support team
Macmillan 'Pod', Oncology outpatients (Level 2), staff outpatient and inpatient support
- Opening times: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 16:00
- Telephone: 01223 274801
- Email Macmillan CUH cancer support team
- Cancer support services webpage
CUH and Maggie's psychological support service
A confidential service offering support on a 1:1 basis, in peer support groups or with a psychologist.
21 Milton House
- (Please see our "Getting here" page for a campus map)
- Telephone: Call your clinical nurse specialist or Maggie's on 01223 249220
Pastoral care team
Pastoral care offers support to you and your family from cancer diagnosis to follow-up. They can help you cope with the ups and downs that you may experience and enable you to live your best in keeping with who you are.
Location: Chapel, off the main concourse (Level 2)
Palliative care (inpatient) and enhanced support care (outpatient)
- Opening times: Monday to Friday, 09:00 - 17:00
- Telephone: 01223 274404 (out of hours, answer machine available)
- Email palliative care team
- Palliative care webpage
Breast Counsellor (funded by ACT)
A member of the Breast team offering short-term counselling to patients diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Referrals must go through the Breast team.
- Telephone: 01223 586960 / 01223 216313
- Breast Unit webpage
The teenage and young adult (TYA) counselling service
For ages 16-24.
Abington House (Ground floor)
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Primary care mental health service (PRISM), via GP surgery
This service is available in all GP surgeries in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and provides specialist mental health support so that patients with mental ill health can access prompt advice and support, receive help in a community setting and experience a more joined-up approach to care.
Referral: Ask your GP for more information.
Psychological wellbeing services
Previously known as 'improving access to psychological therapies' (IAPT).
Access to psychological therapies for common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Referral: Self-referral or by healthcare professional.
Locations: Cambridge, Peterborough, Huntingdon, March, Wisbech and other satellite areas.
- Opening times: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 16:00
- Telephone: 03003 000055
- Self referral email
- CPFT website
Lawrence Way community counselling service
Part of the IAPT service.
Referral: Self-referral or by healthcare professional
37 Lawrence Way
First response service
A phone service staffed by healthcare professionals who will listen to your concerns and help you to get the support you need. Accessible by phone 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough): 111, Option 2
- (Wisbech): 111, option 1 and ask for first response service
North West Anglia NHS foundation trust
Macmillan woodlands centre
- Opening times: Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 - 15:30
- Telephone: 01480 847474 ext. 8348
- Macmillan woodlands centre website
Hinchingbrooke hospital chaplaincy
Telephone: 01480 847474 (non-urgent) or 01480 416416 (urgent)
Email Hinchingbrooke hospital chaplaincy
Hunts community nurses (Hunts community cancer network, HCCN)
Telephone: 01480 416410
Peterborough city hospital
Location: Bretton Gates, Peterborough PE3 9GZ
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust - Peterborough City Hospital
Robert Horrell Macmillan centre - cancer wellbeing service
Opening times: Monday to Thursday 09:00 - 16:30
Telephone: 01733 678570
Email Peterborough Cancer services
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust - Cancer services
Peterborough city hospital chaplaincy
All charities are accessible through self-referral. Charities where services are offered for a small fee or on a sliding scale are marked with a ‘£’.
Organisations are listed alphabetically within their category. We do not monitor the content of third-party organisations or websites nor does this list imply any association with or recommendation for that organisation.
Cambridge cancer help centre
Support for anyone with cancer together with their families, carers and friends. In addition, offer courses, complementary therapies, support groups and information.
Location: David Rayner Building at Scotsdales Garden Centre, 120 Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5JT
Opening times: Monday 10:00 - 13:00, Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Telephone: 01223 840105
Email Cambridge cancer help centre
Cambridge cancer help centre
Cancer support UK
Offers telephone support groups aimed at those towards the end of or post-treatment, facilitated by a trained volunteer with their own cancer experience. Groups are run in eight-weekly sessions and use CBT tools alongside peer support and shared experiences.
Elizabeth Coteman fund (pancreatic cancer support)
Offers telephone advice and support, face to face discussions or advocacy on behalf of patients with pancreatic cancer and their families.
- Telephone helpline: 01223 782171 (messages can be left anytime)
- Email Elizabeth Coteman fund
- Elizabeth Coteman fund
Offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends. Centres offer free courses, groups, meetings and activities.
Location: 21 Milton House, Puddicombe Way, Cambridge CB2 0AD (Please see our "Getting here" page for a campus map)
- Opening times: Monday - Friday 09:00 - 17:00 (drop-in)
- Telephone: 01223 249220 (or 0300 1231801 for other centres)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arthur Rank hospice charity
Support is available exclusively to Arthur Rank patients, families and carers. Support includes: patient and family support team, complementary therapies and psychology team.
Referral: By healthcare professional or self-referral for bereavement
- Cherry Hinton Road, Shelford Bottom, Cambridge CB22 3FB
- Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre, North Cambs Hospital, The Park, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire PE13 3AB
- Telephone: 01223 675777
- Arthur Rank website
Sue Ryder hospice (Thorpe Hall)
Provides expert palliative care and support for people who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families. They have a multi-disciplinary team including: doctors, nurses, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, complementary therapy, bereavement counsellors and psychological and spiritual support. Counsellor services are open to the community.
- Referral: Self-referral or by healthcare professional
- Location: Longthorpe, Peterborough, PE 6lW
- Telephone: 01733 225 900
- Email Sue Ryder hospice (Thorpe Hall)
- Sue Ryder hospice (Thorpe Hall)
Other local options
Arts and Minds - Arts on prescription
Free art workshops for anyone experiencing depression, stress or anxiety.
- Locations: Cambridge, St Ives and Peterborough
- Email Arts and Minds
- Art and Minds website
Cambridge consultancy in counselling (£)
A mental health charity providing affordable counselling and related services to those in the local community who either can’t afford to pay market rates or wait for a GP appointment.
- Locations: various
- Telephone: 01223 233047 (Huntingdon and Cambridge) or 01733 553166 (Peterborough)
- Evolve - Community counselling charity
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind
Mental Health charity ensuring no one has to face a mental health problem alone. They can help make choices about treatment, understand your rights or reach out to sources of support.
- Locations: Cambridge, St Neots, Peterborough (and outreach) Addresses and
- telephone numbers available on the CPSL Mind website.
- Email CPSL Mind
Free, confidential help for those aged under 26. Provides support for sexual health, family problems, mental health, accommodation, money, benefits, information and counselling.
- Locations: Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon, Peterborough and Wisbech
- Addresses and Opening Hours available on the centre 33 website.
- Telephone: 0333 4141809
- Email centre 33
CHUMS (mental health and emotional wellbeing service for children and young people)
Provides therapeutic support in a variety of ways from a team of professionals working in psychology, social work and counselling. Helpful for young patients or carers with an underlying mental health condition.
- Locations: Cambridge and Peterborough
- Telephone: 0330 0581659 (Cambridge) and 0330 0581657 (Peterborough)
- Email CHUMS
- CHUMS website
Cogwheel trust (£)
Provides counselling and psychotherapy support for people in Cambridgeshire.
- Location: 47-51 Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD
- Opening times: 09:00 – 16:30 (counselling may be available outside these hours)
- Telephone: 01223 464385
- Email cogwheel trust
- Cogwheel trust
Cruse (bereavement support)
Support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies.
Locations: Cambridge, Peterborough and Huntingdon
Telephone: 0808 8081677 (Open Monday – Friday 09:30-17:00) Local lines also available (see website for more details)
Group therapy centre (£)
Local charity offering group therapy in Cambridgeshire with qualified and experienced therapists.
- Locations: Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon
- Telephone: 01223 357221
- Email group therapy centre
- Group therapy Cambridge
Service offers a range of talking therapies, advice, information and support.
- Location: Therapy may be provided in a local GP surgery, another convenient venue, over the phone or online
- Telephone: 03005 550888
- Email Insight Healthcare Peterborough
- Insight IAPT
Lifecraft (also see Lifeline)
User-led organisation for adults in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Newmarket area who have experience of mental health difficulties in their lives.
- Locations: The Bath House, Gwydir Street, Cambridge CB1 2LW
- Opening times: Monday 12:00-18:00, Tuesday – Thursday 12:00-17:00, Friday 12:00-19:00
- Telephone: 01223 566957
- Email Lifecraft
- Lifecraft website
Offers counselling services for every type of relationship. They provide advice on marriage, LGBT issues, divorce and parenting. They can also provide psycho-sexual counselling.
- Locations: Numerous centres across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (including Addenbrooke's)
- Telephone: 01302 347866
- Relate website
A charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide.
- Location: Cambridge Branch, 4 Emmanuel Road, Cambridge CB1 1JW
- Opening times: Everyday 10:30 - 22:00
- Telephone: 116 123 (free) 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
- Email Samaritans
- Post: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA
- Samaritans website (Cambridge)
PCVS - Peterborough wellbeing service
Vibrant local scheme working closely with the local health and social care system to provide access and information to a range of services.
- Telephone: 01733 342683
- PCVS website
Macmillan support line
The support line is staffed by trained experts and offers people affected by cancer practical, clinical, financial and emotional support. They can also offer an interpretation service in over 200 languages and accommodate those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The support line is staffed by 6 teams to cater different areas of support:
- Cancer information and support (7 days a week, 08:00 – 20:00) answers all calls and provides emotional and practical support, or just listens.
- Cancer information nurse specialists (7 days a week, 08:00 – 20:00) – experienced cancer nurses who can talk through specialist information on symptoms and diagnosis, treatment, living with cancer as well as palliative and end of life care.
- Financial guidance (Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 18:00) – financial specialists can help manage finances and provide guidance on mortgages, insurance, pensions, future planning, etc.
- Work support (Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 18:00) – help with understanding rights at work. They can provide information and guidance on talking to employers, negotiating adjustments at work and answering questions on sick pay and taking time off. They can also refer people with more complex needs to one-off legal advice.
- Welfare rights (Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 20:00) – provides information on benefits and grants.
- Energy advice (Monday – Friday, 09:00 – 17:00) – can help to source funding if a patient is struggling with bills.
- Telephone: 08088 0800000 (free)
- Contact form (reply within two working days)
- Macmillan website
A free, confidential and anonymous telephone helpline service providing listening support and information to someone experiencing mental distress or supporting someone in distress.
- Telephone: 08088 082121 (free) (7 days a week, 19:00 – 23:00)
- Lifeline website
The team provides information on a wide range of topics including: types of mental health problems, where to get help, medication and alternative treatments, and advocacy.
- Telephone: 030012 33393 (Monday - Friday, except bank holidays, 09:00 - 18:00)
- Text: 86463
- Email Mind
- Postal address: Mind Infoline, Unit 9, Cefn Coed Parc, Nantgarw, Cardiff, CF15 7QQ
Someone to talk to whatever you’re going through. They listen and help you talk through your concerns, worries and troubles. They will focus on your thoughts and feelings and may ask questions to help you explore how you feel.
- Telephone: 116 123(UK and ROI, free) (24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year)
- Welsh Language Line: 080816 40123 (hours vary by day of week, mostly evenings – see website for details)
- Email Samaritans
- Postal address: Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2S
- Samaritans website
A national out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.
- Telephone: 030030 47000 (7 days a week, 16:30 – 22:30)
- SANE website
Other types of support
Search for support groups here.
Also, many charities for different types of cancer have support groups and helplines.
HOPE (help to overcome problems effectively) by Macmillan
The course concentrates on focusing and rediscovering your inner strengths and resilience to help you cope emotionally, psychologically and practically. Time is spent in facilitated discussions, group activities, information sharing and tools for you to try at home in between each session.
Locations: Cambridge Cancer Help Centre, or alternative options listed online or available through the Macmillan Cancer Information Centres
Take Control at Cambridge cancer help centre
The workshop brings together the most enabling and empowering aspects of the HOPE Programme, aspects which have been identified as essential to support you on your self-management journey as you strive to take control of your life. The workshop been designed to extend the option of self-management to anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis. You can attend no matter what stage you are at: whether your cancer treatment has finished or you are still currently receiving it.
Where Now? at Maggie’s
The course looks at the physical, emotional and practical issues that people face when their cancer treatment is over. You don’t have to have finished your treatment recently. The course offers the chance to explore key issues and concerns alongside other people in a similar situation. In fact one of the biggest benefits from this course that participants talk about is the peer support the group members give each other and the support they gain in hearing how others feel and manage post treatment challenges.
We are smoke-free
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.
Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998. www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/accessible-information/
Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151