What is cancer? Watch our new animation in 18 languages!

3 minute read time.
What is cancer? Watch our new animation in 18 languages!

In the UK, around 360,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year[1]. We know there are over 200 different types of cancer, but we do not know all the causes. Being diagnosed with cancer can be daunting, so as well as providing support, Macmillan also develop cancer information in a range of formats.

We are always looking to create cancer information in new and innovative ways to increase our accessibility. The Cancer Information Development team have been working to create an animation answering the question what is cancer?. In this animation you can learn about how cells divide to form cancer, how cancer may spread to other parts of the body and an overview of the lymphatic system.

Video and animations have become increasingly popular in education as a creative and engaging way of learning. Not only are animations and videos visually appealing, studies have shown that videos allow better processing and memory recall[2], meaning that the information sticks in your mind a little longer than reading written text.

Developing information in alternative formats is a keen focus for the Cancer Information Development team, which is why we produced this animation in 18 languages. This is the first time we’ve produced an animation in multiple languages, including English and British Sign Language (BSL).

Watch the animations now or check out our YouTube channel*:

Alongside English and BSL, we provide a range of general cancer information in 16 additional languages. We chose our 16 core languages based on both the needs of people living with cancer and on a lack of high-quality health information produced in these languages elsewhere in the UK. You can read all our 16 fact sheets about cancer in these core languages at macmillan.org.uk/translations

During 2022, we have added 5 languages to our core range: Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Turkish and Ukrainian. These choices were based on feedback from Macmillan regional staff and on key refugee migration routes into the UK.

If you have any comments or feedback on these animations, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment or get in touch with us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

Arabic العربية

Bengali বাংলা 

British Sign Language

Cantonese 繁體中文

Dari دری


Farsi فارسی

Gujarati ગુજરાતી

Pashto پښتو

Polish Język polski

Portuguese Português

Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ 

Romanian Română

Russian Русский

Turkish Türkçe

Ukrainian Український

Urdu اردو

Welsh Cymraeg

*Your browser restrictions may restrict you from accessing these videos. If you have any trouble watching any of these videos please contact us on cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk and we can send you a direct link, or visit our YouTube channel

Other resources you may find helpful

If you would like to read more about the creative process behind this animation, we have another blog post about our other new animations ‘PICC line and ‘Central Line

You may also be interested in reading our blog European Day of Languages and showcasing our multi-language information

We also have an easy-read booklet on ‘What is cancer?’


[1] https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/worried-about-cancer/what-is-cancer

[2] https://www.nextthoughtstudios.com/video-production-blog/2017/1/31/why-videos-are-important-in-education