Skip to page content

Living with and Beyond Cancer (LWBC)

The Living with and Beyond Cancer (LWBC) team are here to support you through your cancer journey and beyond. The team provides information, support and signposting to other services and organisations, as well as facilitating health and wellbeing events.

Meet our team

Macmillan lead cancer nurse – Tracy Beese

Macmillan LWBC project lead nurse – Nicola Perks

Macmillan LWBC coordinator – Tim Wright

Macmillan LWBC clinical nurse specialist – Angie Nicholls

Email the team on

We can best identify your needs by completing a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA)

What is a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA)?

A HNA is a tool used by healthcare professionals to identify your individual needs and contribute to a discussion about your health. The discussion can then be focused on areas that are important to you, a care plan developed and referrals/signposting made to support services, such as rehabilitation, psychological support and services dealing with the consequences of treatment.

This ensures that your care and support services are planned and accessed appropriately.

Treatment summaries

This is a letter which is completed by your cancer team and sent to you and your GP after your primary treatment.

The aim of this letter is to provide high quality communication between your hospital team and your GP. The letter will contain details of any treatment you have received, but also useful information about alert symptoms that require referral back to your specialist team, possible consequences of treatment, an ongoing management plan and any required GP actions to help support you. Copies of the completed treatment summary will be sent to both you and your GP.

Cancer care review

Within six months of your GP practice receiving notification of your cancer diagnosis, you should be invited to have a cancer care review appointment with your GP or a practice nurse. This appointment will give you an opportunity to understand what information and services are available to you in your local area, and to enable you to self-manage your health with support as needed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the social distancing guidelines implemented by HM Government, we have had to temporarily defer our monthly health and wellbeing events. As soon as we are advised  that it is safe to resume these events, we shall invite patients to attend.

In the interim period, we have made our PowerPoint presentation available to patients and some informative videos can be found further down this page.

Please click on the link below:


Health and wellbeing presentation


 Local Contacts:

Macmillan Citizens Advice Bureau Benefits Team – 01384 817721

Action Heart – 01384 456111 ext. 1470

The White House Cancer Support – 01384 231 232

Black Country Lymphoedema Support Network – 01902 654417


Extension numbers for our site specific clinical nurses

Call 01384 456111 and add the following extensions:















Upper GI


Acute oncology


 Head and neck




If you have a diagnosis of cancer, did you know that you are entitled to free prescriptions?

Patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer, experiencing the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment, and are entitled to NHS treatment, are entitled to free NHS prescriptions via a medical exemption certificate.

If you are over 60, you do not need to apply as you are already exempt from prescription charges.

You can ask for an application form (FP92A) from your GP surgery or oncology clinic. Your doctor must sign it and send it to the address on the application form.

The certificate is valid for five years and covers all NHS prescriptions (whether they are related to your cancer or not).

You do not have to return your certificate before the end of the five years, even if your condition changes.

Flu vaccine and cancer treatment

Cancer or its treatment can lower your resistance to infection and make you more likely to catch flu. The flu vaccination makes it less likely that you will catch flu.

Flu (influenza) is an infection caused by a virus. It is very infectious. You mainly catch it from coughs and sneezes of people who have the virus. The symptoms of flu often come on quickly and include:

  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Aching muscles
  • A cough
  • Headaches
  • Extreme tiredness

Anyone who has flu feels quite unwell, but most healthy people recover within a few days as their immune system gets rid of the virus. Occasionally, people develop complications, such as severe chest infections. These are serious illnesses which can need hospital treatment. A small number of people die due to complications.

Cancer and immunity

Cancer or its treatment can lower your resistance to infection. Doctors call this immunosuppression or being immunocompromised. You may be more at risk of catching flu if this applies to you.

If you do get flu and have low immunity, you are more likely to become very ill. For example, you could develop a complication such as a chest infection (pneumonia).

The flu vaccination

The flu vaccination makes it less likely that you will catch flu. If you have had the vaccine and do get flu, there is a greater chance of a quicker recovery.

Adults have the vaccination as an injection into the muscle (intramuscular injection). Children usually have a nasal spray vaccine, although some children might need to have it as an injection.

The flu virus changes each year, so you need to have the vaccine again each year. This is to protect yourself against the most common type of flu predicted for that year.

Who should have the flu vaccination?

Some cancer treatments lower immunity and lower your resistance to flu. These include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Some targeted cancer drugs
  • Some immunotherapy treatments
  • Long term steroids
  • Removal of the spleen

After cancer treatment, your resistance to infection might be low for some months or years.

Your GP or cancer specialist will usually recommend that you have the flu vaccine if one of these apply to you. Depending on your situation, they may suggest that you continue with regular flu vaccines once your treatment has finished. But do check with them and ask when it is best to have it.

When to have the flu vaccination

Have the vaccination before the flu virus starts to circulate in the population. This is most likely to happen during the winter months. Flu season in the UK is usually between December and March.

New vaccines are developed each year and vaccination clinics usually start in late September and continue through to mid November. You can contact your GP to find out about clinic times. Or, you might be able to have it at your local pharmacist. It is still worth having the vaccine after this time if you haven’t had it.

When to have it if you are having cancer treatment 

Cancer specialists generally recommend that you should have the flu vaccine before you start any cancer treatment. But this isn’t always possible.

For many cancer types, your specialist may advise you to have the vaccine during treatment if you haven’t had one. They will explain when it is best to have this. This might depend on different factors, such as the level of white blood cells in your blood. For example, with chemotherapy, you might have it towards the end of one cycle and just before you start another cycle. The vaccine might not give you as much protection as it would a person whose immunity is not low, but it is still important for most people to have it.

Your specialist may recommend that you do not have a vaccine during treatment if you have a blood cancer. Cancers of the blood include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. They can let you know when you can have a vaccine after your treatment has finished.

If you have had a stem cell transplant, your specialist will usually suggest you wait about 6 months before you have the flu vaccine. Again, the length of time will depend on your individual situation.

Always ask your cancer specialist doctor or nurse about having the flu vaccine.

Can I get a free flu vaccine?

The flu vaccination is free to people who are at increased risk of catching flu. This includes those people who have low immunity due to a disease or treatment, such as cancer treatment.

It is also free for many children and those aged 65 years and over. The UK nations have plans to offer free vaccines for adults younger than 65 years later in the season.

Speak to your GP if you had your cancer treatment some time ago and you are not sure if you can have a free vaccine. If you are not eligible, you can book and pay for a vaccine at a range of pharmacies or private healthcare providers.

Read more about the flu vaccination programme (and who can get a free flu vaccine) where you live:


The flu vaccine and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Those more at risk of getting flu are also more at risk of COVID-19. If you have the flu vaccine, you are helping to protect yourself from flu and any problems or hospital admissions this could lead to. This is even more important while COVID-19 is in circulation. You are also helping to reduce pressure on NHS services.

It is important to remember that the flu vaccine helps to protect you against flu, but it doesn’t protect you against coronavirus.
Source: Cancer Research UK  10/2020

   Coronavirus vaccine and cancer treatment

Can I have the coronavirus vaccine if I am having cancer treatment?

The COVID vaccines that are currently available can be given to people who are having cancer treatment.

Although the COVID vaccines are new, healthcare professionals have a lot of experience of giving other vaccines to people living with cancer. Public health experts and cancer specialists have agreed that people living with cancer should receive the vaccine.

If you are having chemotherapy

Some cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy, can lower normal immunity. This can be a problem with certain types of vaccines called ‘live’ vaccines. COVID vaccines are not ‘live’ vaccines.

It is possible that the vaccines may be slightly less effective for people having chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. But it is still expected that the vaccine will give useful protection against the virus.

Other cancer treatments

The COVID vaccines can be given to people who are receiving or who have received radiotherapy as part of their treatment.

The COVID vaccines can be given to people who are having hormonal therapies as part of their treatment, for example people with breast or prostate cancer.

Experts on cancer immunotherapy have recommended that people on immunotherapy should receive the COVID vaccines. They can also be given to people who are receiving or who have received targeted therapies (including antibody treatments) as part of their therapy.

If you have had a stem-cell transplant, your healthcare team can talk to you about the best time for you to have the vaccine.

You may find it helpful to talk to your cancer healthcare team who can answer any questions you might have about getting vaccinated.

When to have the vaccine

Vaccines can be given before, during or after cancer treatment.

If you have been recommended to start treatment that affects your immune system, such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy, receiving a COVID vaccine before treatment starts may improve its effectiveness. But in some situations, people may need to start treatment before having the vaccine.

Your healthcare team can tell you about the options available in your situation.

Do I need to continue shielding or social distancing?

It is important that people still continue to follow the latest government advice about things like social distancing and shielding. Follow the advice and restrictions for where you live in the UK. Visit government websites for guidance on what you can and cannot do in:

Source Macmillan Cancer Support website. Accessed: 30/03/2021 5.01pm

Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support

People with cancer can access free counselling and emotional well-being support from Macmillan and Bupa. We are working together to support people who are struggling with the emotional impacts of cancer.

What is Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support?

We are offering free one-on-one counselling and well-being support with a qualified Bupa counsellor. The service is for people who need emotional well-being support because of their cancer experience. If you are experiencing high levels of emotional needs, such as anxiety and depression, Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support is for you.

How could Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support help you?

The service could help improve your quality of life by:

  • providing personalised support that is tailored to your circumstances
  • reducing the sense of fear, anxiety and/or depression that you might be feeling
  • improving how you cope emotionally with living with cancer or after cancer
  • helping you feel empowered to manage your own emotions
  • increasing your confidence and motivation.

Who are the Bupa counsellors?

Bupa’s qualified counsellors are:

  • mental health practitioners
  • experienced at supporting a wide range of people in vulnerable situations
  • screened and supervised by Bupa’s lead Clinical Psychologist and a BACP Accredited Counsellor
  • counsellors who have received guidance from Macmillan about the impact of cancer.

Bupa’s qualified counsellors are not experts in cancer and its treatment. For specialist cancer information, you should speak to a Cancer Information Nurse Specialist on the Macmillan Support Line.

How can I access Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support?

Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support is for anyone with cancer who is feeling:

  • anxious or worried
  • depressed or sad
  • in need of someone to talk to.

If that sounds like you, call the Macmillan Support Line today on 0808 808 00 00 and ask about the Bupa service.

If you are struggling to cope, it is important to get support before things get worse. Many people feel that others need help more, but that should not put you off calling us.

If you are referred to Bupa for counselling and emotional well-being support, you will first have an initial assessment to identify your needs and make sure the service is suitable. If it is, you will be referred for up to six counselling sessions over the phone or via video call from your counsellor.

Sessions usually last up to one hour and happen once a week, but this is flexible around your needs and availability.

Please note: you can only only access this service via the Macmillan Support Line. Please do not contact Bupa directly. Please call Macmillan to be referred for Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support.

Who can use the Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support service?

This free counselling and emotional well-being support is for anyone who has cancer now or has had cancer in the past. It is for people who are experiencing high levels of emotional needs such as anxiety and depression. To access the service, you should be:

  • a person living with cancer
  • 18 years old or over
  • struggling emotionally because of your cancer journey
  • feeling that your biggest current need is mental well-being/emotional support
  • mentally, physically and socially able to engage in the counselling process
  • not currently receiving therapy, help or intervention elsewhere for mental health needs
  • feeling that your usual daily functioning is being affected by your emotions
  • expressing or describing symptoms of anxiety, depression and/or irritability
  • struggling to cope and finding that things in life are becoming increasingly difficult.

We are committed to making sure that Macmillan Cancer Support is a great place for everyone, and prioritise maintaining a fair, equal, and inclusive environment. Our counselling and emotional well-being support service in partnership with Bupa is available to anyone in the UK who is living with cancer, regardless of age, disability, gender identity, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion and belief. We want everyone to be able to access this service, so please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you with this.

Call the Macmillan Support Line today on 0808 808 00 00 and ask about the Bupa counselling and emotional well-being support service.

Source Macmillan cancer Support website  23/04/2021 @ 0952am


Useful video links


To view a short video from Macmillan on financial support, click here

To view a short  video from Macmillan on cancer treatment and fatigue, click here

To view a short video from Macmillan on talking to children when an adult has cancer, click here



To view a short video from Macmillan on chemotherapy, click here

To watch a short video from Macmillan on how to avoid infection during chemotherapy, click here

To view a short video from Cancer Research UK on what is radiotherapy and how does it work, click here



To view a short video from Macmillan on healthy eating advice, click here

To view a short video from Penny Brohn on yoga, click here

To view a short video from Penny Brohn on stretching, click here

To view a short video  from Macmillan/Leukaemia care on move more – warm up, click here

To view a short video from Macmillan/Leukaemia care on upper body, click here

To view a short video from Macmillan/Leukaemia care on core strengthening, click here

To view a short video from Macmillan/Leukaemia care on lower body, click here



To view a short video from Macmillan on having a CT scan, click here

To view a short video from Design science on having a PICC line insertion, click here

To view a short video from Macmillan on having a central line put in, click here


Macmillan information videos – British Sign Language (BSL)

A selection of short videos from Macmillan presented in BSL and subtitled:

Coping with fatigue (tiredness)

What is radiotherapy?

Preparing for chemotherapy


National Organisations

Macmillan Cancer Support – 0808 8080

or visit

Cancer Research UK – 0808 800 4040 or visit

Penny Brohn UK – 0303 3000 118  or visit

Key staff

Useful information

This service is available at:
  • Russells Hall Hospital
Where to find us
  • Second Floor, Clinical Offices, Russells Hall Hospital
Telephone numbers
  • 01384 456111 ext. 5315