Douglas Macmillan used his £10 inheritance following the death of his father to found the Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer in 1911, and more than a century on the charity has become one of the largest in the UK. Providing specialist healthcare, information and financial support for people affected by cancer, Macmillan also focuses on the disease’s social, emotional and practical impact and campaigns for better care.
It rebranded in 1989 and again in 2006, changing its name from Macmillan Cancer Relief. The London-based charity merged with cancer information service Cancerbackup in 2008 and partners other organisations, including the National Cancer Research Institute. It operates a network of 170 information and support centres, as well as groups, specialists and advisers, together with a national telephone support line, to provide its medical and emotional support. It estimated 1.6m people received individual support in 2017 from its professionals, including 4,555 nurses, and services.