Saj Shah, Cancer Content Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support produces a range of quality-assured information resources, to meet the clinical, practical and emotional needs of people affected by cancer. ‘People affected by cancer’ is a broad term that can apply to people living with cancer, friends, family, colleagues or employers.
I have been working in the Cancer information Development Team (CID) at Macmillan since September 2008. I look after the ‘living with cancer’ titles. These include non-clinical resources, such as information on work, benefits, financial planning, caring, travel insurance, emotional effects and talking about cancer.
I am responsible for advising on and managing the development of information resources. This means ensuring information is accurate, accessible, engaging, up-to-date and of high quality; involving professionals and users; and adhering to our processes in line with the Information Standard. I am also responsible for overseeing Mac Voice, a free, quarterly magazine written for and by Macmillan professionals. It provides an opportunity for cancer care professionals to keep in touch with the work of their colleagues, and it gives them ideas for their own practice. It is also available online at macmillan.org.uk/macvoice
The CID team produces clinical and non-clinical cancer information for people affected by cancer. We produce over 500 booklets, leaflets, fact sheets and audio CDs. Our content makes up approximately 2,500 pages on the Macmillan website. Our popular online resource called the Cancer Factfile is promoted to all Macmillan health and social care professionals. It contains more than 360 fact sheets, which cover many types of cancer and treatments, complementing Macmillan’s other published content.
The primary function of our content is to inform people affected by cancer about:
- their particular cancer type
- cancer treatments, their side effects (and ways to help relieve and reduce these), and other aspects of their care
- a wide range of issues related to living with cancer, including managing symptoms, relationships, and practical issues such as employment and finances.
All our information is available free of charge for people affected by cancer and professionals, and can be ordered over the phone or online at www.be.macmillan.org.uk
We produce content for a range of formats (booklets, fact sheets, leaflets, audio, videos, slide shows, animations, information prescriptions) and delivery channels (the Macmillan website, our mobile phone platform, NHS Choices, Boots WebMD). Many major Macmillan partnerships, including Boots and information prescriptions, use our cancer information to reach and support more people affected by cancer.
While we normally prefer that other websites link to our content, rather than reproduce it, on occasion we have agreed to syndicate some of our content to important partners. These include NHS Inform in Scotland and Boots WebMD. We can produce braille, large print and audio resources on demand (where possible).
Our team are experts at producing clear and accurate information. Quality is at the heart of what we do in the CID team. As such, we have strict quality assurance processes for the development and maintenance of all our content. As a major provider of information for people affected by cancer, Macmillan is a founding member of the Information Standard, a Department of Health-sponsored scheme that ensures the accuracy and accessibility of our resources.
Inclusion is also a very important for Macmillan. As a charity, we want to make sure everyone receives the same standard of support, regardless of who they are, where they come from or what type of cancer they have. Inclusion threads through a lot of what we do in the CID team, too. For example, we always involve a diverse range of people affected by cancer, by asking them to review our information, ensuring we’re meeting their needs. We also involve professionals with relevant expertise to ensure information is accurate, impartial and up-to-date.
The CID team actively uses social media channels to promote our information and connect directly with users. These channels include Twitter (our cancer information account currently has 1,650 followers), Pinterest, blog posts on the Macmillan Online Community and posts on the Macmillan Facebook account.
In my role, I work in partnership with a variety of people across the organisation and externally. Some of these organisations include Age UK, Boots, Citizens Advice, Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, Consumer Focus, Department of Work and Pensions, National Gardening Scheme, Nationwide, NHS, npower, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
I have been a PIF member since joining Macmillan. It is great to receive the weekly newsletter, which helps me keep up-to-date with the latest news on health information, including events and research. The PIF annual conference which I attended recently was a good learning and networking opportunity.