How we produce our information
Our information is based on the latest evidence and is reviewed every 3 years.
We produce independent, expert, up-to-date information for people affected by cancer. Our information is based on the latest evidence and is reviewed every 3 years. It is written in plain English and we try to make it accessible and relevant to the widest range of people.
We produce information about cancer types, tests, treatments, and aspects of living with and after cancer – including work, money, feelings and relationships. We aim to provide information on the most important topics for people living with cancer and those who are affected. We provide our information free of charge and in a range of formats.
Macmillan believes that high-quality information is vital. It can help people understand their situation better. It allows them to make informed decisions about their treatment, care and day-to-day lives. It can also help people feel more confident and in control. The Patient Information Forum, of which Macmillan is a member, says health information is a therapy in its own right and should be accessible to all.
You can search for cancer information on any topic using the search box on this page. Or you can browse the web pages in our Cancer information and support section. You can also use our personal guide to get information for your situation.
Most of the information on our website is also available as printed booklets and leaflets. You can order these free of charge from be.Macmillan. You can also download or print the PDFs of these resources.
We want everyone affected by cancer to feel our information is written for them.
We want our information to be as clear as possible. To do this, we try to:
- use plain English
- explain medical words
- use short sentences
- use illustrations to explain text
- structure the information clearly
- make sure important points are clear.
We use gender-inclusive language and talk to our readers as ‘you’ so that everyone feels included. Where clinically necessary we use the terms ‘men’ and ‘women’ or ‘male’ and ‘female’. For example, we do so when talking about parts of the body or mentioning statistics or research about who is affected.
We follow accessibility and readability guidelines to make sure our information is as clear as possible. We also use white space, a larger font, photos and diagrams to make things clearer.
We also make our information more accessible by providing a range of languages and formats. We offer information in 16 languages, audiobooks, eBooks, videos, Braille, large print, easy read and British Sign Language. We can translate information into other languages if needed.
We have more information about accessibility.
Our information is produced by a team of cancer information development nurses and editors who are experienced in producing accurate and accessible information. We have more information about the team who write our information.
We rely on a number of sources to gather evidence for our information.
All our medical information reflects the best evidence available at the time it is written. Evidence and sources include:
- national or international clinical guidelines or other official guidance
- the findings of systematic reviews, randomised control trials and other research
- government publications and websites
- articles from medical and other journals
- expert opinion and good practice.
We are honest where there is not clear evidence, or there are different views on an issue.
We list a sample of the sources used in our booklets and on our website. If you would like more information on the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
Our information is thoroughly reviewed by healthcare professionals and subject matter experts to ensure that it is accurate. We work with reviewers from many areas of cancer care, such as oncology consultants, clinical nurse specialists, surgeons, dietitians, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
Before it is published, each topic is also approved by one of the following:
- a senior medical editor with experience in the relevant topic
- our Chief Medical Officer, Professor Richard Simcock, Consultant in Clinical Oncology
- other healthcare professionals in our Centre of Clinical Expertise, including the Chief Nursing Officer, Claire Taylor
- for non-medical information, relevant professionals who are experts in their field.
Senior medical editors are senior NHS staff with expertise in cancer types and treatments. We invite people to become an SME based on their experience and specialism. You can find out more about our senior medical editors.
Shaped by lived experience
All our information is also reviewed by people affected by cancer to ensure it is as relevant and accessible as possible. We are always looking for new ways to involve users in the development of our information.
We aim to have diverse representation among both our professional and user reviewers, to help us make our information as inclusive as possible. We work with community and other groups to ensure that we hear the views of affected communities.
We want to ensure that people affected by cancer are at the heart of all the information we produce. Everything we write is read and reviewed by people affected by cancer, to ensure that it is clear, accessible and relevant to people’s experiences.
If you'd like to support us by reading and reviewing our information, please contact the cancer information team. You don’t need any special qualifications, just a cancer experience and an interest in good-quality cancer information. We aim to have a diverse representation in our reviewers and welcome hearing from people from all backgrounds and communities.
We are proud to be members of the Patient Information Forum and to have been awarded the PIF TICK quality mark.
When you see the PIF TICK on our our website, booklets and other resources, it shows that we have followed robust production processes and met PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information:
- We create our information using a consistent and documented process.
- Our staff receive ongoing training and support.
- Our resources meet a genuine need.
- Our information is based on reliable, up-to-date evidence which is communicated clearly.
- People living with and affected by cancer are involved in the development of information.
- Our information is written to meet health and digital literacy, language and accessibility needs of our audiences.
- Our information is clearly communicated, easy to access and navigate.
- We have a clear process for users to provide feedback.
- Our information is promoted to maximise reach.
- We measure the impact of our information.
We want our information to be relevant to everyone affected by cancer, regardless of which region or country in the UK they live in.
Whenever we create or update a resource, we look at the information to make sure it is relevant for all countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some of the ways we do this
- using our style guide of terms, institutions, policies, practices, systems, laws and organisations that vary between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- making sure the useful organisations we list in our information cover all of the UK
- working with colleagues and relevant professionals in each country of the UK
- asking people affected by cancer from all countries of the UK to review our resources.
While most of our information is not for or about a particular country, where there are differences, we include these.
We make every effort to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and up to date but it should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialist professional advice tailored to your situation. You are strongly advised to consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice tailored to your situation. So far as is permitted by law, Macmillan does not accept liability in relation to the use of any information contained in this website.
How we can help
Chat online anonymously to others who understand what you are going through. Our community is available 24/7 and has dedicated forums where you can get advice and ask our experts.