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Life after cancer

This group is for cancer survivors and people who have finished treatment. It is a space to discuss things like the physical and emotional after effects of cancer, returning to work, or trying to move on with your life.

HOPE course

Posted by

Hi everyone

I can appreciate how difficult it can be to get back to life after having treatment for cancer. I have been there, got the tshirt! I  found a combination of counselling and medication for anxiety/depression really helped me so if any of you are thinking of going down that route I would recommend it. Talking to someone not involved in your situation can be really beneficial.

Often we get on that treadmill of treatment and it is only after, sometimes a long time after, that it really hits you what you have gone through. About 18 months after my diagnosis I hit a low spot and decided to do an online course called HOPE. The letters stand for Help Overcoming Problems Effectively. I found the activities relevant, helpful and interesting. It was good to connect with other people who had gone through a cancer diagnosis. 

HOPE is a course that was devised by Coventry University and is delivered via Macmillan. At the moment the online version is not available but face to face courses run across the country. This week I attended training in Birmingham to become a HOPE facilitator, and I am now at the stage of embarking on running a course locally. 

If anyone is interested in finding out more there is a link to HOPE here. It gives information on the course and a basic introduction to some of the activities which include how to tackle fatigue, goal setting, managing stress and mindfulness. A range of delivery methods exist with a a course for carers as well as an introductory session of a few hours in place as well as the main course for people who have had cancer, which lasts for 2 and a half hours for 6 weeks.

Hope this may be of help for some of you. 

Take care

Sue x

Posted by

Thank you for your post sue. I have just had a look and the course looks great. I will definitely be looking into this.

Posted by

Thank you so much for this post. I'm finding the realisation that I had cancer so much worse than the diagnosis I look forward to this being available online. Although I live in London and have accesss to loads of resources, including a 'returning to work after cancer' course next week (run by a local maggies centre), I am going through this with s friend who lives in athens - we were diagnosed at about the same time with different gynaecological cancers -   And have been supporting each other. Thanks again


Posted by

Hiya, Thank you for this. Just been reading the HOPE course content and looks very interesting. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend a course for 6 weeks, would prefer a day. Any options for that?
I've attended a LYLAC workshops last year: Live Your Life After Cancer, which was very, very worthwhile to attend. A bit similar as HOPE, all in 1 day! Two fantastic facilitators, both cancer survivors, and sharing their experiences has been very inspiring for me. I felt immediately at ease, knowing they have gone through it. Have you heard of these workshops? Do you also share your cancer experience at the HOPE course? 
Where can I find out more about HOPE course locations and dates? Thanks!

Posted by

Hi Anna, 

Can you tell me more about these 'returning to work after cancer' course? I would be interested in attending this course as I'm really struggling to get back to work! 
How is/was your experience with this course? Is this course developed by Maggies?? 
Thanks in advance! 

Posted by

I did two courses at Maggies last year.  One was specifically about returning to work - which was great - a lot of information about how to manage your return, legal issues, stuff about your rights.  The other one was a more general course called Where Now?  This is a seven week course which goes into so many aspects of getting your like on track and getting used to the new normal.  The information about it is at this link.


I am also do a couple of exercise classes there including Nordic Walking, which is brilliant and in the last few weeks Ive had some counselling sessions. 

Im fortunate that the West London Maggies isn't too far from where I live so Im  able to go there quite easily.   I understand that they also offer online support if you cant easily get to a centre  Im pretty certain that without the support there I would be a basket case.  Its now nine months since my diagnosis and surgery and six months since I returned to work, and although its not easy and im still working a phased return (four days a week - 2 in the office and 2 at home) and that will continue until the end of June.  It took me a while to realise that I needed help, but  its helped me so much. 

Good luck


Posted by

Greetings Fibby,

I have just been to a follow-up day of the HOPE course.  This was 2 consecutive days in February and 1 day about 5/6 weeks later.  Very worthwhile but this was in Pembs - perhaps this will be offered in your area?



Andrea DB
Posted by

Hi Sue,

I am training to become a Counsellor and my group are doing a presentation on Macmillan and all that it offers. Would it be possible for us to use your latest email as a a example of someone who has benefited from the HOPE programme?

Many thanks

ali 2018
Posted by

hi everyone... this is my first post...

in a nutshell I had a full hysterectomy in May 17 (due to severe endometriosis). 9 weeks post op I had my first mammogram (age 48) and DCIS was discovered. Had my op in august 17 followed by radiotherapy later in the year. 

I still feel a bit of a fraud as it was only DCIS but I went through the cancer process and I’m still struggling to reconcile everything. I’m constantly told “cancer is not a competition. Everyone has their own journey”.

I officially have the most unsupportive boss known to man and had a total meltdown at work last week when I advised them of my upcoming mammogram (first one post op). 

Thought I was going mad last week but as my breast nurse reminds me “I’ve been through a lot and should take time to deal with all this”. HOPE counselling has been highly recommended and will investigate further....

ali xx

Posted by


I guess, as a person with neuroendocrine cancer who will *never* complete treatment, I am sad that there is nothing like this for people like me who must live with incurable cancer for the rest of my life... there should be something like this for people with chronic cancer.

It's difficult to face cancer every day, to never be able to move beyond the acute phase and grieve for the loss of well being. Hope would be useful.

Or, is it just people like me who should have "no hope"?


Posted by

Hi , indeed having hope for some can be challenging.

I was diagnosed back in 1999 and was told I had an incurable type of Lymphoma and would never even see remission -  remarkably 4 years back I was told I was in remission but no guarantees that it will not kick back in again.

I did find some support groups so you may want to check for Local Macmillan Support in your area.

I did find some great support at our local al Maggie’s Centre as these folks do run support groups for everyone - regardless of prognosis ((hugs))

Mike - Thehighlander

It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

Posted by

Hello- It's not about prognosis- I will likely die with, not of, Neuroendocrine cancer.

I don't have a local Maggie's...

It's just a shame the course excludes people like those with NEC


Posted by

The HOPE course is not available in Inverness so can’t comment on what the course covers and it’s a shame that you don’t have a Maggie’s in your area.

I have a number of friends who recently died following a few years living with a terminal diagnosis - I was so impressed as to there ability to look past their diagnosis and live out the remainder of their lives well with a good measure of peace.

I do with you well and hope you can find somewhere to find support in your area. The Macmillan Support Line Services on 0808 808 00 00 are always around to help out ((hugs))

Mike - Thehighlander

It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

Posted by


Have you actually spoken to someone at Macmillan about attending a HOPE course?. I attended one in March 2019 and there was a lady on it with terminal metastatic breast cancer. 


Posted by

Hi all

Just passing and thought I'd linger a bit in this discussion.

The Hope Programme or how to

Help to




is a joint initiative between Macmillans and Coventry University and normally comprises of 6 weekly face to face sessions  of 2½ hours covering various topics but if your time is at premium some areas also run a shortened HOPE programmes such as a Two-Day condensed HOPE course or Take Control which is a single 3 hour workshop.

For more information see here The Hope Programme 

For information on courses in your area email ServiceOpsLearning@macmillan.org.uk

I hope this is of interest to all but what would really be of interest would to be hear from members who have attended the programme. Remember the programme is not specific to any one type of cancer its about moving on afterwards.



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With 2 Certificates in Stoma Care and Management.

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