Who we are

Our team is made up of oncology professionals who specialise in providing psychological support, such as talking therapies, to people affected by cancer.

How we can support you

A diagnosis of cancer, its treatment and aftermath can be distressing for the person affected and those around them. It is common for patients, their families, and carers to experience shock, worry and sadness.

People cope with these difficult times by drawing on their resilience and the support of those around them. Talking therapies, as offered by our service, can also help.

Our team can provide a safe space to talk through difficult feelings and experiences associated with cancer and help you find ways to cope.

Concerns we can help with include:

  • coping with change and uncertainty about treatment and the future
  • low mood, depression, and anxiety
  • loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • support in making decisions about treatments
  • managing pain and side effects of treatments
  • difficulties with relationships and intimacy
  • managing treatments alongside daily life
  • talking to children about cancer
  • changes in your appearance following treatment
  • coping with caring for someone who has cancer

How you can access the service

If you think you might benefit from our support, you can ask a healthcare professional involved in your care – such as your doctor or nurse – to refer you. You can also refer yourself by calling or emailing us:

If you require an interpreter or help with mobility, hearing or sight, please let us know and we will make appropriate arrangements.

What happens when you are referred or self-refer?

We will contact you to arrange an appointment or send you an appointment letter. If you are an in-patient, we may arrange to see you on the ward. These appointments typically last about 50 minutes.

At your first appointment you will get to know your therapist, discuss your difficulties, and think through what support would best suit your needs. You and your therapist will agree on whether additional appointments will be helpful for you.

We will provide you with a safe space to express your feelings and make sense of your experiences. We may offer specialist talking therapies or provide information about practical support and other services that may be available to you.

Do I have to see you?

No, it is entirely your choice. If you choose not to, it will not affect your medical care. If you change your mind and would like to see us at a later stage, you can ask to be re-referred.

Can I bring anyone else to the appointment?

A family member or carer can accompany you to your appointment. Individual counselling is confidential, so the oncology counsellor will usually see you alone for talking therapy.

Confidentiality and records

All personal information collected by our service is kept confidential and our records are secured separately from your general medical notes. There are exceptions to confidentiality such as: when the person providing talking therapy is concerned about your safety, or the safety of others; in cases of child protection issues; or, when breaking confidentiality is requested by a court of law.

If you need urgent support

We are not an emergency service and cannot provide a rapid response in a mental health crisis. If you require urgent mental health support, please contact your GP, or go to your nearest emergency department.

You can also contact

• Macmillan Cancer Support Line: 0808 808 0000, (Seven days a week, 8am to 8pm) • Samaritans: 116 123 Available all day, every day of the year

Useful contacts and services

Macmillan cancer information and support centres

Royal Free Hospital

Barnet Hospital

Chase Farm Hospital

Citizens Advice

Confidential, impartial advice on money, work, housing, transport, and other issues for patients with cancer and their carers.

Camden Macmillan welfare advice service (Royal Free patients)

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals Citizens Advice service

Patient advice and liaison service (PALS)

We are fully committed to providing a high-quality patient experience and hope that you will be satisfied with our service. If you have any comments, compliments, or complaints you can telephone PALS.

Barnet Hospital PALS

  • Tel: 020 8216 4924

Chase Farm Hospital PALS

  • Tel: 020 8216 4924

Royal Free Hospital PALS

  • Tel: 020 7472 6446 or 020 7472 6447