Cancer and social care

If you have cancer, your first priority is medical care. But there are people who can help with other aspects of life, such as where to get help with money and benefits.

The first person to speak to about social care is your doctor or nurse. They'll be able to discuss your needs and refer you to a key worker, possibly a social worker. This is the person who will be responsible for assessing exactly the kind of help you should get.

There are so many sources of help available that it's important to have someone to guide you.

What kind of social care could you get?

An occupational therapist can provide a more detailed assessment of your needs at home. They can make your life much easier by arranging equipment and adapting your house.

A care assistant can help with dressing and washing. They can even just keep you company and give your carer a break. Look into this as soon as you can, because many care agencies have waiting lists and you may be charged a cost.

Find out more about getting an adult social care assessment.

How cancer charities can help

Charities and voluntary organisations can provide you with excellent care options. These include Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

These organisations help with emotional care, and support families of people with cancer. They can provide useful information and guidance.

Other sources of cancer support

  • NHS Care and support - Get information, advice and support for carers on all aspects of caring. This can be financial and legal issues to taking a break from caring and accessing local services.
    Call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 or visit NHS Care and Support
  • Carers Trust - Carers Trust is an organisation in England and Wales that helps carers. They visit homes and take over their responsibilities for a while.
    Phone 0844 800 4361 or visit Carers Trust
  • Benefits and welfare - For help on applying for any eligible benefits, see benefits and welfare
  • Home adaptations - An occupational therapist can assess your home and make changes to create a comfortable and practical place to live during your treatment. This could mean putting a shower downstairs, adding handrails around the house, or making other adjustments. Find out more about adaptations in council homes and adaptations in private homes
  • The website - This website has articles and videos about living with cancer, including practical and emotional issues. Visit