Help

Get help using the online community and see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Community Guidelines

Welcome to the Community

What is the community?

The Online Community is a place for anyone 16 years + affected by cancer in any way. Whether directly, through a family member, friend or neighbour, this is a place to get and give support, information and help.

Our community groups are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that support is available whenever you need it.

To keep this community an inclusive and safe place for active and supportive discussion, we ask that all of our users follow these simple guidelines.

Please remember that every time you use this community, you're agreeing to our Community Guidelines, Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions, so you should make sure that you understand these documents fully.

How we moderate

We ask all members to follow our community guidelines. We do not pre-moderate and cannot always check all the content on the community, therefore we rely on members reporting offensive and inappropriate content.

In short, we ask everyone to:

  • be supportive
  • respect others
  • not personally attack other members
  • not use abusive or offensive language
  • use the community to give and get support first and foremost - not research

 We base our moderation decisions on evidence

Our experienced Community Team explores behind the scenes and takes decisions based on the evidence available.

We are careful to ensure that any moderation decisions are fact-based, and on some occasions we may ask community members to be tolerant of other members’ feelings and differences in communication styles.

The site is primarily for support - please discuss moderation decisions with the community team at community@macmillan.org.uk rather than addressing them with other members on the site.

What happens when members break our guidelines

We accept that this is sometimes accidental. We always let people know when they have broken our guidelines so they understand why we have taken action. We do this as part of our commitment to creating a safe, positive environment.

When a member breaks our guidelines, we may have to suspend their account. If someone repeatedly breaks our guidelines, the Community Team makes a decision based on any previous activity about what to do next – whether a week’s suspension or, as a last resort, a lifetime ban.

We reserve the right to take steps or implement measures that we think will benefit the whole community and its users.

Can users challenge a ban?

If members are unhappy with any moderation decisions, they can contact community@macmillan.org.uk and a member of the Community Team will respond.

Find offensive or inappropriate behaviour?

Contact us at community@macmillan.org.uk, or click the report button on a post and we will take appropriate action as soon as we can.

Your account

To start a new discussion and reply to others on the Online Community, you need to join by creating an account.

  • Please do not set up more than one account, as we do not allow multiple accounts registered to one member. If you cannot remember your password you can request a new one.
  • Please keep your account details private and do not give your login details to anyone else.
  • Please do not give your account to anyone else as this can cause confusion within the Community. We also ask that you please do not sign up on behalf of someone else.
  • Please do not allow others to access the Community using your log in details without letting us know first.
  • All accounts should belong to individuals and not organisations. If you wish to use the Community on behalf of an organisation, please contact us for permission.

If we block your account, please do not set up another one without our permission. If you feel that your ban was undeserved then please do contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Be supportive and respect others

Be supportive

This community offers a space for a wide range of people, many of whom have been affected by cancer. Please focus on supportive and sensitive discussions and always be sympathetic to other members’ feelings. Please do not bully, harass or intimidate any user. If you have suspicions about another member making false claims, please report them to the Community Team and then ignore them. The Community team are the only members who are able to decide whether a member is fake or not, so please trust us to make the correct judgement call.

Respect others

We ask you to be tolerant and respectful of other members’ beliefs and opinions at all times. We understand that people often have strong feelings about the topics addressed in this community however, personal attacks are never justified.

We may remove any comments others find offensive or threatening or which are deemed to be escalating a situation. We may also remove an entire thread if a strong disagreement develops. It is your right to disagree with an opinion, but do not attack the person or people who hold it and please make your point respectfully.

When choosing where to post, please be considerate and look for a group or thread which is the most appropriate to your situation. Please respect the topic and situation of the member who has started a discussion. If you wish to start a completely new topic or discussion, please do this in a new thread.

Some groups have guidance in the description about who they are for – please respect this. For example, the group Carers Only is just for carers, and the group Living with incurable cancer is only for those who have had an incurable or terminal diagnosis. This is so members have a safe space to talk freely amongst themselves with others like them.

Report and ignore

If someone posts something you feel violates our Community guidelines or Terms and Conditions, please let us know immediately, and then ignore it. Email us at community@macmillan.co.uk. Do not confront members publicly, please just report and ignore.

As in real life, not everyone on the internet is as nice as you may want them to be. Some nasty individuals enjoy riling people up online by posting inflammatory comments designed to provoke a response (often known as trolling or flaming). The best way to deal with this sort of behaviour is to report it, then ignore it. The same goes if you suspect another member of not being who they say they are; report and ignore. Although it is often difficult, ignoring users who do this is the only way to get rid of them; if they can’t provoke a response, they will leave you alone.

Impersonation and imitation

Imitating other users can be a form of harassment and we take this very seriously. We may remove any content, delete accounts and ban users who do this. Members who are suspected of impersonating another member will have their accounts suspended pending investigation. Please do not provide false information in your 'About Me' section, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.

Not telling the truth

Macmillan aims to support everyone affected by cancer. From time to time we are visited by people who want to upset our members or who are not telling the truth about their cancer experience. Fortunately these cases are rare but sadly they do exist and can have a negative impact upon our community.

If you suspect someone isn’t telling the truth, the best thing to do is to ignore them. Someone who is here for the wrong reasons wants the attention: you ignoring them will put them off. Please don’t accuse anyone publicly of being dishonest as this can deflect discussion away from what our community is here for. Instead, report your suspicions to our admin team either by using the reporting function in our groups or emailing us directly.

Please remember we can only make decisions based on activity that takes place on our community and not on other social networks (such as Facebook) or phone conversations. We are always cautious when handling cases like this as we are here to support people affected by cancer and do not want to falsely accuse anyone. In some situations, if someone needs help that Macmillan cannot provide, we recommend organisations that can.

Community Content

Jokes

The Macmillan Online Community deals with very serious issues, but it can also be about putting a smile on your face when you need it most.

We think there is a place in our community for jokes, but we don’t want them to dominate our homepage, since this can be upsetting for people who are not in a laughing mood. So we ask that, when posting your funnies, you post them to our Laughter is the best medicine group.

Jokes posted in the wrong place may be removed. We understand that everyone has a different idea of what is funny, but please keep your jokes clean. We also ask that you do not post links to external web sites or any images which others may find offensive.

Abusive language

Offensive or abusive language is unacceptable in this community. Due to the nature of the site, it’s fine to use anatomical terms in the correct context in your messages but you should avoid aggressive or excessive use of swear words or words that others may find offensive.

We don't tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism or other forms of hate-speech or content that could be interpreted as such. Harassment and threats of physical violence will end up in a permanent ban. 

Medical advice

Information provided via our community is not intended to replace or be a substitute for the advice and services of professional experts but rather to provide signposts towards further information and support.

Macmillan Cancer Support is dedicated to providing high quality, expertly developed information about cancer. Please be careful not to post medical advice, promote alternative therapies or to reproduce information from other sources unless they are quality assured and reputable. You can find our Cancer Information pages here or speak to a trained Macmillan professional on our free support line- 0808 808 0000 (Mon-Fri, 9-8).

Alternative and complementary therapies

Alternative therapies
An alternative therapy tries to treat cancer using unconventional methods instead of usual medical treatment. When discussing alternative therapies, you may:

  • Provide anecdotal accounts about alternative therapy use, as long as you do not make claims about their effects.

When discussing alternative therapies, please do not

  • Advocate the use of any alternative therapy;
  • Claim that any alternative therapy can cure cancer, reduce the size of tumours or in any way treat cancer;
  • Advise anyone to ignore medical experts’ advice on the use of any treatment whatsoever;
  • Promote any alternative therapy.

Complementary therapies 
A complementary therapy is one used alongside conventional treatments to improve quality of life.

Complementary therapies do not influence the cancer itself but some can help to alleviate symptoms and the side effects of conventional treatments. When discussing complementary therapies, you may;

  • Advocate the use of complementary therapies alongside conventional treatment;
  • Make evidence-based claims about the effectiveness of complementary therapies in improving quality of life

When discussing complementary therapies, please do not

  • Advocate using any complementary therapy as an alternative to conventional treatment;
  • Claim that any complementary therapy can cure cancer, reduce the size of tumours or in any way treat cancer;
  • Advise anyone to ignore medical experts’ advice on the use of any treatment whatsoever;
  • Advertise any complementary therapy for commercial gain (commercial solicitation of any kind goes against our Community guidelines).

Medical photos and documents

Members are able to post pictures on the Online Community, but we ask them not to upload any pictures of body parts related to cancer, or medical documents, as this often leads other members to try and diagnose, or offer medical advice. No one is able to diagnose cancer through these, and some members may find such pictures distressing. If you have any concerns about cancer, please seek medical advice through your GP or healthcare team.

Legal Issues

Posting content that may put you or us at risk of prosecution, such as defamatory posts or content that breach someone else’s intellectual property rights is against our guidelines. Please do not 'name and shame' individuals or organisations, as this can leave both you and Macmillan open to prosecution if your comments could be interpreted as libellous. Please do not use our Community for anything unlawful, misleading or malicious.

Charity fundraising

Charity fundraising on the Community is allowed for registered charities. We assess these on a case by case basis and this is at the discretion of the Community Team. If we feel that fundraising is not genuine, we reserve the right to edit or remove the content. Please do not post your fundraising multiple times as we constitute this as spam and it will be removed.

No adverts, promotions or spam

The Macmillan Online Community is a source of support and should not be used to sell or promote services to our members. We consider any commercial solicitation to be spam, including promoting web addresses, products or services. We will not tolerate any company or individual found to be soliciting personal information from our members for commercial gain. Action will be taken against any company found to be acting as an individual.

In some instances and with our prior permission, we allow relevant information from legitimate organisations to be posted on our Noticeboard forum. Please contact the admin team at community@macmillan.org.uk before posting.

We do not allow adverts for Facebook groups to be posted on the community, as we cannot see if these are potentially harmful to our members. We only allow other charities, websites or services to be promoted at the discretion of the community team (community@macmillan.org.uk).

No Questionnaires, research or surveys

We do not allow third parties to post questionnaires, surveys or conduct research anywhere on the Community site. We feel this takes away from the peer support focus of our site. 

Petitions

If you wish to post an online petition for other members to sign, please contact the Community Team for permission first community@macmillan.org.uk

Press & media enquiries

Macmillan’s Online Community is a peer to peer support network for people affected by cancer and not a place for direct press enquiries. This is so our members feel comfortable giving and getting support, and to protect their privacy and personal details.

If you would like to make contact with any of our members for the purpose of contributing to a media project, please contact us at media@macmillan.org.uk.

Post in English

All contributions must be in English. This is because the Community Team are not able to moderate posts in other languages. It is also important to make sure that all members can understand each other’s posts and support each other.

Keeping safe online

Protect your privacy

Please remember that all the information that you post here is public – it can be read by people not logged in to the Community and potentially found through search engines. Discussions and blogs, including any images you post, are all public; only your profile and private messages are private.

  • Please do not post your own personal information such as your real full name, home addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. Do not share your profile from any social networking site with other users, as they can find personal information about you from it and this could be a security risk.
  • Please do not ask other users to post their personal information such as home addresses, telephone numbers, or email addresses, and do not pressure anybody into revealing information about themselves that they do not wish to.
  • Please do not post other people’s personal information publicly on the community either.

Any personal information which you have posted publicly will be edited or removed. If you want to contact another member, please send them a private message through the site. See more about private messages.

We have a Privacy Policy explaining how we handle personal information.

Your username, signature and ‘more about me’

Your username is how other members of the community will identify you. To avoid confusion please do not use terms that reflect figures of authority or formal roles such as nurse, doctor, etc.

For your protection, in your username, signature or ‘About Me’ section, we ask that you don’t include your full name, email address, real address or telephone number or any other information which could be used to identify you in the ‘real world’. We also ask that you do not use a name which looks like a real full name.

In addition, please don’t use language that others may find offensive or this will be edited.

For help on what to put in this section, please visit our My Profile in our help section. 

Sending and receiving gifts and money

We do not allow members to personally send gifts or money, or allow members to request gifts or money from other members. We appreciate that there are considerable financial demands associated with living with cancer and this is why we have financial and benefits advisors on our support line ready to give you financial assistance (0808 808 000, Mon-Fri, 9-8).

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a member, please contact the Community Team with your concerns. For more information about support services provided by Macmillan, please visit our website. For financial matters, find out more about how we can help on Macmillan’s financial support pages.

Age Limit

For the protection and safety of children, this community does not allow members under 16 years of age to join. Accounts of members found to be under 16 will be closed.

If you are under 16 and need support, you may find it helpful to visit the Teenage Cancer Trust or Clic Sargent. You may also find our information pages for teens helpful.

Don't face issues alone

Suicide and self-harm

All mentions of intention to commit suicide, assisted suicide or self-harm will be removed from the site. Expressions of thoughts and feelings about these issues are allowed. If you are worried about another member of the Community, please contact a member of the admin team immediately. It is not your responsibility to offer counselling, please refer the member to our support line 0808 808 0000 or The Samaritans free number on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org for appropriate support and advice.

If you are worried about another member

Please do contact us if you are worried about another member for any reason at community@macmillan.org.uk.

Macmillan support line

If you need support or help, please remember you can call our free support line on 0808 808 0000. Available Monday-Friday between 9am-8pm, this is how you can get support and advice from our Macmillan experts. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, we’ll be there.

Please remember

Views expressed in this community are purely the views of the members and as such don't constitute professional recommendations or advice or the opinions of Macmillan Cancer Support.

We have the right to update and change our Community guidelines and Terms and Conditions at any time. If you have any questions about these guidelines, or anything on the site at all, contact us and we’ll do all we can to help.