Cancer carers working together, making a difference
13th December 2011


Macmillan Cancer Support and the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS) have come together, for the first time, to encourage and support people caring for people with cancer in line with the Macmillan vision for cancer survivorship.


Patient and carer experience of cancer and social care services is set to become an increasingly important outcome measure in the assessment of the quality of local health and social care services.  A joint paper*, Caring Conversations released today, highlights that few cancer patients travel their care and treatment pathway alone. Families, friends and carers share that journey - but their visibility as equal partners in cancer care varies.


According to ADASS National Lead for carers Graeme Betts, Levels of public awareness of the role and needs of carers are generally low.


We believe there is a real need to improve understanding of what it is like for carers. It is becoming increasingly important that, as cancer survivorship rates improve, that we work in partnership with families and carers during all stages of their journey.  Cancer is no longer a death sentence. Both Macmillan and ADASS agree that cancer survivorship needs to move up the agenda of adult social care.


According to the paper, assumptions are quite often made about peoples willingness to commence, continue with, and sustain caring roles. Becoming a carer and continuing with the responsibilities involved needs to be an informed choice.


Knowing who to go to is vital. People often ask people they know. Improved public awareness around cancer survivorship is needed, and the voluntary sector has a key role to play since people often look to this sector for independent advice and support.


According to Graeme Betts: In this joint Caring Conversations paper we are inviting local statutory agencies, patient and carer organisations to come together and develop local conversations about the experience of cancer patients and their carers and how it can be improved. The conversation points we have suggested are designed to raise awareness, encourage responsiveness and, above all, promote action at a local level that reflects local experience and needs and makes the best use of the resources available.


We all have the potential to be affected by cancer at some point in our lives. Our message is that by working together with carers and communities we can make a difference to the experience of cancer patients and their families. In the new year Macmillan and ADASS will jointly be saying more about the growing challenges we face and what we can all do to make a difference.


Charlotte Argyle, Carers Support Manager of Macmillan Cancer Support, says: We are pleased to be working with ADASS to improve the support available to carers of people with cancer in their local communities. This joint paper will help to raise awareness of the needs of carers of people with cancer, not only amongst the professionals who work with them, but also amongst carers themselves many of whom may not recognise that they are a carer, and entitled to support both from the statutory and voluntary sector.




For further information contact:

Graeme Betts, ADASS National Lead on Carers, 020 3373 8337

Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Charlotte Argyle, Macmillan Carers Support Manager, 0207 091 2041


* Caring Conversations is a new series of resource papers prepared by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) in support of implementation of the refreshed national strategy for carers published by the Coalition Government in November 2010.




The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.


About Macmillan Cancer Support:


Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. More than one in three of us get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer Macmillan can help.


The Macmillan Vision (Endorsed by ADASS)


People living with or beyond cancer, and their carers, should have easy access to high quality care, treatment and support to meet their medical, practical, emotional and financial needs for years after treatment. They should be respected and included as equal members of society and be able to take as active a role as they wish in their care and treatment.


The full text of Caring Conversations is available at