This blog will give you regular, high-quality information about cancer. You'll also get to meet the info team and get updates on our projects. We hope you find it useful. And if there are any topics you'd like us to blog about, just let us know.
In this blog, Abi tells us all about her role here at Macmillan.
Hi, I’m Abi and I’m the Managing Editor in Macmillan’s Cancer Information Development team. I’ve worked at Macmillan for seven years now, and I love working here. I feel proud of my team and all that we achieve together, which includes an extensive range of top-quality patient information in a variety of formats.
My work background
My background is actually in Marketing, which I studied after my English degree. I started in Macmillan’s marketing department as a Marketing Officer and then joined the Cancer Information Development team as an Editor as I really enjoyed working on our patient information. I still get to use my marketing skills regularly as it’s important to promote our information, find out how people use it, and capture any feedback and suggestions for improvements.
I always wanted to work for a charity, and had some very positive early experiences with Macmillan supporting friends and family. Getting a job here was a dream come true for me, and sometimes I still have to pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am to work for such an amazing organisation.
About me and my job
I live in Beckenham with my lovely husband Chris and our beautiful 22-month old daughter Charlotte. A typical day for me involves a very early start, courtesy of my daughter, and then I’m logged in and ready to start working at 8am every day, although this does mean I get to finish at 4pm! Outside of work, I like to see friends and family I also love playing tennis. I’m passionate about interior design and travel, and am happiest when planning my next holiday.
Managing a team of three Senior Editors, seven Editors, one Editorial Support Officer, two Editorial Assistants, a volunteer and sometimes an intern – as well as our Quality and Improvement Officer who leads on accessibility – keeps me very busy! The team produces over 150 booklets and leaflets, over 340 fact sheets and an enormous website, all of which need to be updated at least every 2.5 years.
Our content covers key information areas about diagnosis, treatment, living with and recovering from cancer, and a large number of cancer types – and we’ll always keep that core content updated. But we’re always reviewing the topics we cover and adding new content where it’s needed – often in response to feedback from people affected by cancer and those who work with them.
Macmillan is certified with the Information Standard so we follow strict procedures while producing our information, and I look after our enormous work planning schedule.
Involving end users is a key part of our information production processes. We manage over 200 patient reviewer volunteers and are always trying to recruit new ones.
The team is always busy. As well as maintaining our popular Twitter page and blog, we organise regular photo shoots and commission new illustrations and videos, as well as the occasional animation. We also upload approx 400 Information Prescription PDFs to NHS Choices every year. These are shorter pieces of information that people can select and collate, depending on their diagnosis and situation.
Key projects this year include the redesign of our patient information website. Working alongside the Digital team, we have made the site more accessible and intuitive for people affected by cancer. We have also worked hard to create new front covers for our printed resources, many of which now feature people affected by cancer talking about their own experiences.
We’ve also worked hard to make our information more accessible to a range of people with different needs. Our Quality and Improvement Officer is always thinking of ways to improve and promote our range of accessible formats, which includes translations, easy read booklets and videos captioned with British Sign Language. It’s exciting to plan ways to reach more people with our information than ever before.
I’m proud of my work at Macmillan over the last seven years, and it’s amazing to see how much our patient information has improved in that time. This is an exciting time to be in the team, as we’re really stepping up our work around promotion and evaluation, and I hope we continue to improve the lives of people affected by cancer in the years to come.
To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.
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The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.
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Keep in touch Follow Macmillan’s cancer information team on Twitter @mac_cancerinfo
Great job Abi, love Macmillan's website and the Online Community is first class - especially the blog section which I use regularly. Visited your bus in my local town, great facility.
Thanks so much for your lovely comments. It's always great to hear from members of the online community. I'm glad you are getting good use out of our site, and Macmillan in general.
If there are any topics you'd be interested in us blogging on do let us know and we will try our best to help.
I'm a mouth cancer survivor and sadly the treatments have left me unable to eat 'normal' textured food and so I tend to buy frozen ready-meals that are already pre-mashed / pureed - which I'm happy with. However, so many head and neck cancer patients struggle to find foods especially during the early post-treatment time and often ask for advise on the community forum.
Are there any Macmillan booklets specifically about blended / pureed meals at all ? I think it would be good idea for head and neck cancer patients when they find that they are unable to eat their usual favourite foods.
By the way, great blog Abi - keep up the good work !
I'd like to see more written about coping with recovering from the emotional side of having cancer. Personally I've found it harder to cope with my emotional recovery than with my physical recovery. This is also something people can find hard to talk about.
There are a couple of publications that I've found invaluable. An article by Dr Harvey called After The Treatment Finishes, and a book by Atkins & Goodhart called The Cancer Survivor's Companion. I often recommend these but a few people have recently come back to me and said the article is heavy reading and the book is too long.
So I think it would be great if Macmillan could write something that explores the subject in a similar depth but is easier for people to read.
Hi Joycee and Margaret,
Thanks to you both for your comments. We’re always keen to hear what information people would like to see.
Joycee, thanks so much for the feedback – I have passed it on to the team. In case you haven’t seen it, we have a recipe book that contains meal ideas that are suitable for people with problems chewing or swallowing. Some of the team here tried a selection of these recipes; you can read their blogs on starters, main courses and deserts.
Our website has information on eating problems. We also have a booklet, Eating problems and cancer, which you may find helpful.
Margaret, that’s a great idea for a blog. Thanks so much for your suggestion! I will also share the publications you suggested with the team.
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