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Psychological support

When you or someone close to you has cancer, it can be a difficult time for everyone involved. You may have lots of worries and concerns. Your healthcare team, clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre can advise and support you with physical, emotional and financial concerns. Some people may need more support to help manage the emotional difficulties associated with cancer, such as low mood, worry and coping with uncertainty.

Service update

Unfortunately, due to staff shortages, the Macmillan cancer psychological support service is currently closed to referrals. However, recruitment is well underway and we will be accepting referrals in the near future. Please read the rest of this page for how the service will be able to support you once you have been referred.

In the meantime, your cancer CNS will be able to signpost you to alternative support available online, and in the community, as well as to patient forums.

We also have a range of information to support you during this time, including:

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we recruit to this service. We will update this page when the service is ready to take referrals.

Further support

If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to, the Samaritans has a 24-hour confidential helpline. The phone number is 116 123.

If you are feeling suicidal and need urgent support, please contact your GP. If it is out of hours, call the Samaritans or attend your nearest A&E.

If you would like access to psychological therapies, please refer yourself to your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service:

Bromley IAPT
Phone 0300 0033000 or email [email protected]

Lewisham IAPT
Phone 020 3228 1350 or email [email protected]

Southwark IAPT
Phone 020 3228 2194 or email [email protected]

Lambeth IAPT
Phone 020 3228 6747 or email [email protected]

Macmillan also has a partnership with Bupa offering six sessions of free telephone counselling. Call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 8080000 and ask about the Bupa service or visit their website for further information.

Who we are

We are a specialist team of psychologists who support people affected by cancer at any stage of their care. We offer free, one-to-one appointments for people with cancer and their carers to help with cancer-related psychological difficulties.

How we can help

Talking therapy can help you make sense of your concerns. We will discuss practical ways to help you cope with the following issues:

  • adjusting to a cancer diagnosis and the changes it brings
  • making decisions about cancer treatment
  • managing the side effects of treatment, such as pain and fatigue
  • coping with emotions such as fear, worry, sadness, anger and frustration
  • balancing the demands of home, work and family life while caring for yourself
  • adjusting to changes in appearance and body image concerns
  • managing concerns about fertility and sexual intimacy
  • living with and beyond cancer, including concerns about cancer coming back

What happens during your appointment

We provide a safe environment where you can share your concerns. We use talking therapies to listen to how you are feeling and help you identify and make sense of the main difficulties you are facing. We may be able to suggest coping strategies and will explore with you what support would be best suited to your needs. We offer a choice of face-to-face, virtual or telephone appointments.

A one-off consultation is sometimes all people need and may already be part of your care. Your psychologist may suggest a referral to other services that are better placed to help. Each session lasts up to 50 minutes. Additional sessions with the psychologist may be offered if you both agree this would be helpful.

Accessing the service

Macmillan Cancer Psychology Support Service

This service is available if you or your relative is having treatment at King’s College Hospital or the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH). Once the service is re-opened to referrals (see above for details), please call 020 3299 5355 to arrange an appointment at either location, or to ask any questions. Your CNS or doctor will also be able to refer you to our service. After receiving a referral, we will contact you to arrange an appointment.

Haemato-oncology Counselling and Psychology Service

Please note this service is not affected by the above message and is taking referrals.

The haemato-oncology department has its own counselling and psychology service for patients affected by blood cancers or bone marrow failure disorders, those undergoing stem cell or bone marrow transplants, and their families and carers.

You can request a referral through your Clinical Nurse Specialist or your doctor. You can also self-refer using the contact details below:

Team email address: [email protected]

Team phone number: 020 3299 5761