Cancer information and support centres - for anyone affected by cancer

We have two cancer information and support centres: the Macmillan Butterfly Centre at Epsom Hospital and the Cancer Information and Support Centre at St Helier Hospital.

Our professional staff and experienced volunteers are available to help anyone affected by cancer. We can help you if you have cancer yourself, care for someone with cancer or want to simply find out more about cancer.

Our friendly and relaxed centres can help with:

  • Access to high-quality, comprehensive and appropriate information
  • Cancer awareness and prevention
  • Information about signs and symptoms to look out for
  • Emotional support
  • Confidential counselling
  • A range of complementary therapies
  • Links to other appropriate organisations
  • Macmillan CAB advice service for south west London.

We operate a drop-in service, so there's no need to make an appointment. However you are welcome to call us for more information or to arrange an informal chat.

More information

Recognition for a quality service

The Macmillan Butterfly Centre was first awarded the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) in May 2013.

To receive the award, the centre environment had to score highly in areas such as use of space, comfort and atmosphere, personal and social interaction and health and well-being. The centre scored highly in each category.

The Butterfly Centre applied for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark® (MQEM) to achieve recognition for the hard work and dedication they have put into creating a quality service for patients and their loved ones.

Achieving MQEM provided positive feedback and a seal of approval for the environment and the achievements of the centre staff and volunteers. 

After the initial MQEM award is received, environments are re-assessed every three years to make sure that the high standards are kept up all the time.

The Macmillan Butterfly Centre had its re-assessment in June 2016 and again in July 2019. We are proud to say that we retained the award in 2016 and in 2019.

Key staff

Tarlika Patel, Macmillan cancer information and support manager

Teresa Howes, Macmillan cancer information and support manager

Macmillan Cancer Psychological Support (CaPS) Service

Diagnosis and treatment of cancer can have a big impact on the quality of life of patients, their family and carers. The CaPS service is here to help you cope with and adjust to the emotional and psychological challenges which can result from the experience of cancer.

What can we offer?

The service provides a range of different talking therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) , counselling and solution focused therapy. The service can provide information, support and practical help with discussing and thinking about the concerns you have related to cancer. Appointments last for an hour and people can vary in how many sessions they require. The service can provide up to around six to eight sessions and this will be agreed with yourself. 

HOPE (Help Overcoming Problems Effectively)

Are you finding it tough living with cancer or after treatment?

We can offer you HOPE (Help Overcoming Problems Effectively) course. This course runs once a week for 2.5 hours for six weeks.

The next HOPE course starts on 3 June 2020 to 8 July 2020. Please book your place by 22 May 2020?. For more information please contact Tarlika Patel on 01372 735456 or 020 8296 4730.

Supportive therapies

Supportive therapies can play a part in alleviating distress for some cancer patients.

They can offer a holistic approach to cancer care and can result in patients feeling more empowered over their illness.

These therapies are being used under the umbrella of integrated healthcare. This means that their focus is on health and healing rather than disease and treatment. They seek to bring together body, mind and spirit so that healthcare encompasses the whole person.

Supportive therapies at Epsom Hospital

We offer the following supportive therapies in the Macmillan Butterfly Centre at Epsom Hospital:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Counselling
  • Healing
  • Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Yoga.

Supportive therapies at St Helier Hospital

We offer the following supportive therapies in the Cancer Information and Support Centre at St Helier Hospital:

  • Counselling
  • Reflexology.

Emotional support

Our staff at both centres are here to listen to and discuss your views and concerns, and provide a full range of relevant information on cancer awareness, prevention, diagnosis, treatments and all aspects of cancer care.

The period between a diagnosis of cancer and commencing treatment can be particularly difficult. You and your family are encouraged to return for further information or support throughout the cancer journey.

Patients with a suspected malignancy, newly diagnosed patients or patients at any time during their cancer journey can be seen with their families in the privacy and comfort of the centres where information can be given and clarified.

Liaison with healthcare professionals working in our hospitals ensures that you receive continuity of care and a seamless service throughout all stages of your treatment. Where additional psychological support is required, referrals can be made to a specialist counselling service.

Look Good, Feel Better masterclass

Look Good, Feel Better is dedicated to improving the confidence and wellbeing of people undergoing cancer treatment.

Our aim is to improve self-image and appearance through free skin care and make-up masterclasses that teach new skills and techniques in a friendly, supportive group environment.

Workshops are held throughout the year. Please see the Look Good Feel Better masterclass flyer [pdf] 509KB for dates.

Cancer information library

Both centres have a well stocked cancer information library, containing up-to-date information on cancer awareness and prevention and on all types of cancers and their treatment.

Trained staff are on hand to direct you to relevant literature or explain information that may be new.

A selection of information is also available in a range of different formats and languages.

Opening hours

The information library at Epsom Hospital operates a drop-in facility and is open Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), 9am - 4.30pm.

The information library at St Helier Hospital operates a drop-in facility and is open on Thursdays and Fridays (excluding public holidays), 9.30am - 4.30pm.

You can drop in or make an informal appointment to be guided around the resources. We advise you to make an appointment in advance to ensure that you are not kept waiting.

Macmillan CAB advice service for south west London

The Macmillan Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) advice service is a free confidential welfare benefits and money advice service for people living with cancer, their families and carers.

A CAB advisor will be available by appointment only to give free, confidential and impartial advice to people affected by cancer.

To find out more about accessing this service, please see macmillan CAB service [pdf] 124KB

Managing the cancer experience course

Managing the cancer experience is a seven-week educational programme for people with cancer, and their relatives and friends. More information about the course can be found in our  Managing the cancer experience course leaflet - 2017[pdf] 721KB. You can apply for the course by completing the  Managing the cancer experience course application form [doc] 27KB.

Key contacts

Tarlika Patel 

Tel: 01372 735456

Sheena Woodward 
Tel: 01372 735232


Read about people who attended the course previously and what they learned:

Eugene Hagerty, patient, February 2013

"I learned several things from the sessions:

  1. Dawn Brewer's session: There are over 300 variants of chemotherapy treatment - a little known fact I believe, which I have discussed with several friends. An important issue since many people think that chemotherapy is a 'one size, fits all' treatment and is often ineffective. Biological therapy - I was treated with Rituximab and I now understand why.
  2. That patients' experiences varied hugely in terms of their patient - consultant relations: I have had an amazingly good and meaningful relationship with my medical people whereas others seemed to have suffered from very little time allocation when visiting their hospital. However, actual treatment seems to have been very good all round. Notwithstanding, it was obvious from feedback that patient - consultant relationships and available time to discuss concerns are extremely important to cancer patients and warrant more attention.
  3. Greatly enjoyed Eugene Doyle's session: His gentle manner, quiet way of asking questions, and low key approach, got the best out of everybody and promoted a comfortable and discrete platform for honest talking.
  4. Very much enjoyed the session by Jenny Crowther: She is a very good speaker. The practical massage session was very therapeutic and different.

"All in all, I thought the course was excellent, largely due to the quality of the speakers, the created environment which made it easy to talk, and without doubt, thanks to the patients who, though in many ways, still worried about their conditions, were extremely willing to share their experiences and concerns."

The experience of a carer: Moira Fogarty

"An invitation to attend a seven-week course at the Butterfly centre seemed rather daunting at first, but all such fears were soon banished. The friendly and caring atmosphere soon got us all relaxed and we started to look forward to our weekly visits.

"It was obvious that the topics had been well planned and put together for both patients and carers. These topics were closely related to everyday living and also to our experiences with those we met related to cancer, hospitals and care and advice.

"The need for exercise, the correct diet, the acceptance of our situation, the importance of suitable distractions and many others were but a few of the subjects discussed.

"Audience participation was very much part of the discussion but only if the individual so wished. At first, everyone was rather reticent but soon the attendants blossomed.

"Of course all this was due to the thought, preparation and care that Tarlika, Pam and Sheena had put into the preparation of the course without which it would not have been so enjoyable and such a success.

"We finished the course feeling that there were professionals who were there who were ready to guide and encourage us and that we were no longer facing a future on our own but had the Macmillan nurses to guide us."

Cancer patient forum

Are you a cancer patient, or are you a carer for someone who has cancer?

Your experience is valuable to us and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Come and join us to help improve cancer services in our hospitals.

View the Cancer Patient Forum poster May 2016 [pdf] 300KB

For further information please call Tarlika Patel on 01372 735456 (Epsom) or 020 8296 4730 (St Helier).

Managing the cancer patient experience course

A seven week educational programme for people with cancer, their relatives and friends. 

For full details, please see our flyer.

To express interest in taking part in the course, please complete the response slip. 

New You

An interactive free workshop for men and women with cancer

Image consultant Christine Broome will cover the following topics:

  • Styles that suit you
  • Shopping sensibly
  • Wardrobe planning
  • Make-up and accessories
  • Colour, body shape, hair.

The workshop will take place at the Macmillan Butterfly Centre, first floor, block B (Bradbury wing), Epsom Hospital.

Take a look at the New You poster 2020.

To book a free place, please call 01372 735 456

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