How we review our cancer information

4 minute read time.

Here in the Cancer Information Development team, we produce around 140 booklets and leaflets and over 200 webpages for people affected by cancer. Today in the blog, we’re talking about our volunteer and professional reviewers who make a huge contribution to the work we do in our team and the information we produce.

Our volunteer reviewers
Our team works with a pool of around 200 volunteer reviewers who provide feedback on our information. These reviewers work flexibly from across the UK and represent all ages and backgrounds, from students to retirees. Most importantly, each reviewer has experience of cancer, either first hand or through a friend or loved one.

Every month, we send our reviewers a newsletter with a list of titles that we need feedback on. They can volunteer to look at those that match their experiences, or those that seem interesting. We send them the current edition of the information, and wait for their comments which we pass on to the nurses and editors.  

This image is a speech bubble, with a quote from Irene, on our volunteer reviewers. It reads ''I feel as though I am giving back some of the support I received during my treatment. I have found reviewing a very worthwhile project to be involved with.'

Our nurses and editors use these comments to make sure that we are providing the right amount of information, that it is clear, and that people can understand it. It’s also useful to know if our information reflects real-life experiences of cancer and treatment.

This image is a speech bubble showing a quote from Maria, Macmillan's Senior Information Development Nurse. It reads ''Our reviewers help me remember the potential impact of our information on people's lives. They make us think beyond diagnosis and treatment, and place equal importance on living a life with or after cancer.'

Our professional reviewers
It’s important that all our information is clinically accurate and of the highest quality it can possibly be. Our professional reviewers help us do this. When we send them information to check, they will look at:

  • its accuracy
  • if it is up to date and in line with current recommendations and guidelines
  • the tone of the information - for example, its sensitivity
  • the weight given to each topic
  • if we have left anything out that they think should be included.

This image is a speech bubble containing a quote from Jenny Allen, one of our professional reviewers. It reads ''Reviewing cancer information for Macmillan enables me to use my knowledge to benefit patients and their relatives, alongside my usual day to day role.'

We asked one of our professional reviewers, Jenny Allen, about her job as a Senior Clinical Pharmacist and why she volunteers to review our information. 

‘I qualified as a Pharmacist seven years ago, and I have worked in the field of oncology and haematology for around five years in total. I currently work at a District General Hospital in the North East of England. My role is really varied, and I find it very rewarding. The majority of my time is spent in the haematology clinic, working across three of our hospital sites. I review patients who are taking oral chemotherapy, prescribe their next cycle of medication, adjust doses when necessary and also provide any supportive medicines they may require. 

I was given the opportunity to review cancer information for Macmillan a few years ago, and decided to get involved. The main reason for this was that I was very aware, from discussions with patients and their relatives, of the value of good-quality, patient-friendly information. I am really keen to support the improvement of patient experience, and by reviewing for Macmillan,  I hope that I am contributing towards that in a small way.’

We really appreciate all the hard work our professional and volunteer reviewers put in to making our information as useful as it can be. They are truly amazing individuals, giving up their precious time to help us and people affected by cancer. 


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.

We're with you every step of the way

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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