Macmillan Cancer Support

Coordinates: 51°29′16.587″N 0°7′23.464″W / 51.48794083°N 0.12318444°W / 51.48794083; -0.12318444
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Macmillan Cancer Support
Formation1911; 113 years ago (1911)
FounderDouglas Macmillan
Founded atCastle Cary, Somerset, United Kingdom
TypeCharitable organisation
PurposeProvide specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer and their families.
Headquarters89 Albert Embankment, SE1 7UQ
Coordinates51°29′16.587″N 0°7′23.464″W / 51.48794083°N 0.12318444°W / 51.48794083; -0.12318444
United Kingdom
Key people
Revenue (2014)
£218.4 million [1]
Staff (2014)
1,474 [1]
Formerly called
  • Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer
  • Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund
  • Macmillan Cancer Relief

Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the largest British charities[2] and provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer. It also looks at the social, emotional and practical impact cancer can have, and campaigns for better cancer care. Macmillan Cancer Support's goal is to reach and improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer in the UK.


The charity was founded 1911[3] as the Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer, by Douglas Macmillan following the death of his father from the disease. In 1924, the name was changed to the National Society for Cancer Relief, which it retained until 1989 when it was changed to Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, later changed again to Macmillan Cancer Relief. From 5 April 2006, Macmillan Cancer Relief became known as Macmillan Cancer Support, as this more accurately describes its role in supporting people who have cancer. It has adapted the principles of being a "source of support" and a "force for change".

As the National Society for Cancer Relief, the organization provided funding to support the work of the Breast Care and Mastectomy Association of Great Britain, which would later become Breast Cancer Care.

MacMillan Cancer Support is one of the 50 largest UK charitable organizations ranked by annual expenditure.[4] It is governed by a Board of Trustees and Executive Management Team.[5]

The charity's head office is based in London.[6] Macmillan Cancer Support merged with cancer information charity Cancerbackup in 2008.

Macmillan works in partnership with other cancer research organisations and is a partner of the National Cancer Research Institute.

Cancer Support[edit]

Macmillan Cancer Support supports local information and support centres, cancer support groups, benefits advisers and cancer support specialists, and can help with practical, medical, financial and emotional support.

Macmillan provides information about cancer through its Information Standard website, free printed and recorded materials, telephone support line and over 170 local cancer information and support services nationwide.


Macmillan host a series of annual fundraising events, which include running, golf and cycling events. The most notable event is World's Biggest Coffee Morning, which has made £75,000,000 since it began in 1990.[7] Macmillan also hosts other large fundraisers, including Brave the Shave which raises over £4,000,000 each year,[8] as well as Go Sober for October which has raised over £3 million.[9][10][11]

Previous controversy over fundraising methods[edit]

Macmillan faced criticism when it placed adverts in Facebook and on Google associating the Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral fundraising activity, with itself. It had been suggested that the aim of the Macmillan marketing campaign was to divert web traffic and subsequently awareness and donations away from smaller charities with whom the challenge had been mostly associated, namely those relating to motor neuron disease and ALS.[12][13][14][15][16]

Amanda Neylon, the head of digital at Macmillan, said the charity got behind the Ice Bucket Challenge, which asks participants to pour a bucket of iced water on their heads, because it was criticised for being too slow on the uptake for the #nomakeupselfie social media campaign. On missing out on the #nomakeupselfie campaign, Neylon said: "We were too slow – it was a big motivator to be much better the next time an opportunity came along."[17]

In 2016, Macmillan scrapped the head of digital role as its digital team merged into other departments. [18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Annual report and accounts 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Macmillan Cancer Support". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Sparsholt Macmillan Coffee Morning raises £1,100". Hampshire Chronicle. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  4. ^ Rogers, Simon (24 April 2012). "Britain's top 1,000 charities ranked by donations. Who raises the most money?". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Who we are". Archived from the original on November 19, 2008.
  6. ^ Charities Direct: Top 500 Charities – Expenditure Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "World's Biggest Coffee Morning". Macmillan. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Ben's bold bravery as he has head shaved to boost cancer charity". The Gazette. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Go Sober". Macmillan. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  10. ^ Paul Williams (26 September 2016). "Macmillan challenges London to Go Sober for October". The Chiswick Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  11. ^ "How to safely prepare for Go Sober For October". UK Addiction Treatment Centres. 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  12. ^ Marrins, Kirsty (20 August 2014). "Ice bucket challenge: when can a charity hijack a hashtag?". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. ^ Culzac, Natasha (24 August 2014). "Macmillan Cancer accused of 'hijacking' the ice bucket challenge". The Independent. London.
  14. ^ "Macmillan: We did not hijack #icebucketchallenge". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Macmillan defends itself against criticism it hijacked the Ice Bucket Challenge | News | Marketing Week". Archived from the original on 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  16. ^ "Macmillan defends hijacking ice bucket challenge". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Macmillan defends hijacking Ice Bucket Challenge". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Macmillan scraps head of digital role as Amanda Neylon departs | the Drum". Archived from the original on 2020-02-28. Retrieved 2020-03-21.

External links[edit]