Cancer support intro

Treatment for cancer can be a difficult experience

You may feel pain, fatigue and feelings of anxiety and worry.

We offer emotional, psychological and practical support, including groups and one-to-one sessions, to help you manage these issues.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies are a range of treatments used to help support our patients and improve their quality of life. This could include an increased ability to relax and a better sense of wellbeing. Symptoms such as constipation, pain, insomnia, fatigue, breathlessness, muscular aches and anxiety may be helped this way too.

Which therapies are available?


The use of plant based essential oils, which may be either inhaled or used as massage oil. We can also create an inhaler called an aroma-stick which you can take away with you and use as often as you would like to. The oils in the inhalers can be blended to suit specific needs, for example to help with nausea.


A type of foot or hand massage with gentle pressures at specific points. You will only need to remove your shoes and socks for this treatment.


The use of light pressure on the body, directly onto the skin. Specific parts of the body may be treated. We also offer a form of massage called biodynamic’ that aims to help on a combined physical, emotional and spiritual level.


Therapists use light pressure on specific parts of the body, through clothing.

Relaxation and guided visualisation

Therapists make use of breathing and muscle relaxation techniques and positive thoughts and images.

Bowen Technique

The therapist uses gentle hand movements on the body, through clothing. There are frequent pauses of a few minutes which allow the body to respond to the treatment.


The therapist places their hands in a series of positions on or near the body. There is no massage or manipulation. You will be fully clothed and either sitting on a chair or lying down on a couch.

Who is the service for?

The service is available for Barts Health cancer and palliative care patients. Patients may be seen as inpatients or outpatients.

How often can I have complementary therapies?

Therapies are offered for four to six sessions in outpatient clinics. We appreciate that needs change and so we are happy for you to be re-referred as necessary. In-patients may be seen multiple times.

How can I be referred?

Your key worker, nurse specialist or any member of your medical team can refer you into the service. Following referral, a member of the Complementary Therapies Service Team will contact you in order to arrange an initial appointment.

Is there a charge?

The service is free of charge. If you would like to support the Complementary Therapies Service, donations can be made to Special Purpose Fund 8404 at Barts Charity.

Contact us

Call 020 8539 5522 and use extension 5840. A therapist will be happy to talk about the service further and answer any questions you may have.

Macmillan cancer support

Information centres

Anyone affected by cancer can access expert information covering the entire range of cancers, treatments, psychosocial issues, lifestyle issues and financial matters at one of our Macmillan information centres located at our hospitals. Details can be found using the 'Visit a Macmillan information centre' section on this page.

Personalised care and support

Personalised care and support is a holistic approach to patient care, supporting patients to live well with and beyond their cancer diagnosis. The service also supports patients to be more in control of their recovery.

As part of the cancer team at Barts Health we have Macmillan cancer support workers who work alongside our specialist nurses and consultants. They support people who have a cancer diagnosis, are currently undergoing treatment, and those patients who are living with or beyond cancer.

Macmillan cancer support workers work with patients and carers to identify and address any worries or concerns after a cancer diagnosis, helping individuals to take control of their care and to live well. Support is available face-to-face in one of our Macmillan information centres or on the ward, over the telephone or via email.

Holistic needs assessment (HNA)

These are offered after an initial diagnosis and after an acute period of treatment has been completed, e.g. surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is a time to talk with a support worker to discuss any concerns. The focus is the person as a whole not just their illness. Individuals decide how much information they would like to share about their current situation and, with the support of the support worker, a care plan is agreed.

The following concerns are examples of what might be discussed as part of a HNA :

  • Practical e.g. money, work or household tasks
  • Family/relationships e.g. changes in your relationships
  • Emotional e.g. fears, worry, anger, depression or anxiety
  • Spiritual/religious e.g. loss of faith, loss of meaning or purpose
  • Physical e.g. appearance, eating, fatigue

Health and wellbeing resources

The Macmillan team at Barts Health have created a number of videos with information for patients, carers and family members:

The following films were made by a group of people who are living with or beyond cancer. The process brought them together to discover the importance of peer support and the power of personal stories.

Patient support groups

Group support is available for people with any type of cancer and their friends and families before, during or after treatment.

Every group provides an opportunity to talk to other people who are in a similar situation to you and to share experiences. 

Groups offer a safe space to express emotions you might not want to share with your friends and family.

You might learn from those a little way ahead of you in their journey and develop your own strategies for coping. 

Group details

Group name


Frequency of meetings 


Primary breast cancer support group

Maggie's Barts

Third Tuesday of every month, 1-2pm

Email or call 0203 904 3448
Secondary cancer support group Maggie's Barts First Tuesday of every month, 1-2pm Email or call 0203 904 3448

Men's cancer support group 

Maggie's Barts

Coming soon 

Email or call 020 3904 3448  

Ovarian cancer support group 

Maggie's Barts

2nd Monday of the month 3:30 – 5:00pm 

Email or call 020 3904 3448  

Young women’s support group 

Maggie's Barts

1st and 3rd Thursday of each month 12-1.30pm 

Email or call 020 3904 3448

Friends and family support group 

Maggie's Barts

2nd Thursday of each month 12-1.30pm 

Email or call 020 3904 3448  

LGBTIQ+ support group 

Maggie's Barts

1st Thursday of each month 3pm-4pm 

Email or call 020 3904 3448  

Testicular support group 

St Bartholomew's, virtual meet up

Monthly in the evening 


Prostate support sroup 

Whipps Cross, virtual meet up



Breast cancer support group 

Whipps Cross 

On hold 

Call Tina Donoghue, 020 8535 6643 

Bladder cancer support group 

Whipps Cross 

Coming soon 

Call Sharan Hatch, 0208 5356790 

Chronic GvHD support group 

Virtual group accessed via Starleaf 

Every 2 months

Email Debbie Anderson 

Talking Heads 

On hold

On hold

Email Marianne Miller

Psychological support

A diagnosis of cancer and the experiences that follow can be understandably distressing.  You may find it helpful to access the support of friends, family and peers as well as organisations such as Macmillan, Maggie’s and other cancer charities.  Your cancer team are also there to support you, particularly the cancer clinical nurse specialists who are trained to provide psychological support.     

Sometimes, however, when people experience ongoing distress that is hard to manage, additional input from psychological specialists can be useful. 

Cancer Psychological Services is a team of psychologists and art psychotherapists who offer specialist psychological services for people affected by cancer, at any point during their care at Barts Health.  We are embedded in the cancer centre and work closely alongside cancer doctors and nurses, to meet the psychological needs of patients at any point, from diagnosis through treatment and onwards.   

Our service is available to people with any cancer diagnosis, at any stage of their care and up to one-year post completion of treatment. We can help: 

  • with the management of cancer treatment and physical symptoms 

  • explore the impact of cancer and treatments on aspects of your life such as your important relationships, your body and how you feel about yourself 

  • support you in decision making 

Our sessions can be face-to-face, by telephone or by video call. We routinely offer short-term interventions and the number of sessions you require will be agreed upon between you and the psychological specialist you meet. 

If you think you would like to speak with a psychological specialist, please talk to your clinical nurse specialist or another member of your cancer team in the first instance who can discuss with you what might be most appropriate and what options are available. 

We also run Fear of Cancer Recurrence workshops that are open to anyone who would like to learn strategies to manage the understandable fears and worries about cancer coming back.  Details of our next Fear of cancer recurrence workshops:   2024 dates

Other resources that can help with your mental health and wellbeing: 


Visit Maggie's

Visit Maggie's

Maggie's Barts

Here for you

The Maggie's Centre at St Bartholomew's Hospital provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families.

Visit the centre

Visit a Macmillan information centre

Visit a Macmillan information centre

Support for you

Visit a Macmillan centre in any of our hospitals

They offer a free drop-in service for anyone affected by cancer. You can access confidential one-to-one support, information booklets, welfare and benefits advice and details of other local and national services.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital

Ground floor, west wing 
Mon – Fri: 10am – 4.30pm
Tel: 020 3465 6611

Whipps Cross Hospital

Junction 3-4, main corridor
Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm
Tel: 020 8535 6790
Click here for accessibility information

Newham Hospital

Main entrance, zone 1
Mon – Fri: 9am – 4.30pm
Tel: 020 7363 8758

The Royal London Hospital

9th floor, urology outpatients
Mon – Fri: 9am – 4pm
Tel: 020 3594 0508