Many members of The Royal Family have a well-established relationship with charities that support people living with cancer.
The King has been a long-standing supporter of Macmillan Cancer Support, becoming Patron of the charity in 1997 when he was The Prince of Wales. Macmillan provides medical and financial support to cancer sufferers, and pushes for better cancer care.
During his time as The Prince of Wales, The King also became Patron of Breast Cancer Haven, a charity supporting the physical and emotional needs of anyone affected by breast cancer; Breast Cancer Now, which contributes world-class research and life-changing care for people affected by breast cancer; Marie Curie Cancer Care, which provides high-quality nursing care to terminally ill people at home; Penny Brohn, a holistic cancer charity that has pioneered the Bristol Approach to cancer care; and Walk the Walk, a breast cancer campaign raising money for scientific research.
In 2000, His Majesty wrote an article titled 'Bowel Cancer: A Cancer No One Wants To Talk About', in which he said:
This year, well over 30,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease and a significant portion - about 18,500 people - will die. Yet bowel cancer is one of the most curable, most preventable cancers, if caught early enough. We could - and should - be saving several thousands of lives a year, many of them younger people with families, with jobs, with untold contributions to make to the communities in which they live.
The Queen Consort has been President of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres since 2008. Maggie's provides the support cancer patients need, beyond medical treatment. This might include information about how treatment will affect the patient; emotional support and practical advice; and a place to go to meet and talk to people who are going through the same things.
Maggie's Centres are not part of the NHS, but sit beside major cancer hospitals across the UK. From workshops, courses, one-to-one and group support, Maggie's helps people to change the way they live with cancer. The charity focusses on the things that really make a difference, like money worries, help with stress and depression, managing side-effects and relationship and family support. Their support has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing and to help people take control when cancer turns life upside down.
On Maggie's Centres, The Queen Consort said:
I cannot imagine a more welcoming or comforting sanctuary, the light and airy surroundings - a welcome cup of tea - homemade cakes - the excellent advice, counselling and support not to mention the wonderful range of recreational activities on offer.
In March 2022, Her Majesty invited Team ExtrOARdinary, consisting of three female rowers, to tea at Clarence House to congratulate them on their remarkable feat, breaking a world record by rowing 3,000 miles over 42 days from the Canaries to Antigua in aid of three cancer charities. The then Duchess of Cornwall heard stories from their adventure, including how Kat was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to take on the challenge to show that life can be lived in full with the disease.
Tenovus Cancer Care, of which The Princess Royal is Patron, is a Wales-based charity, funding research and providing care and counselling services. In April 1967, the Tenovus Institute for Cancer Research was formally opened by their Patron of the time, Princess Margaret. Over 85 eminent scientists from all over the world attended and the accompanying Tenovus Cancer Symposium prompted international publicity and acclaim.
The Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra are Joint Presidents of Cancer Research UK, a charity dedicated to funding cancer research and providing support for cancer patients. In 2022, Their Royal Highnesses shared a message to mark World Cancer Day, in which they said:
We recognise the researchers, supporters, volunteers and staff who contribute to the life-changing work of Cancer Research UK and send our heartfelt thanks for your tireless efforts to support those living with and affected by cancer... From spearheading the ground-breaking HPV vaccine, to supporting cancer patients through the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, your life-saving discoveries and pioneering projects continue to bring us closer to a cancer-free world.
In 2021, Her Royal Highness completed the March The Month challenge in which she walked 11,000 steps every day during the month of March to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer UK, which raises awareness about prostate disease and funds research into treatment. As the charity's Patron, The Duchess walked every day in honour of the 11,000 men who die from prostate cancer every year in the UK.
The Duke of Kent has been Patron of Blood Cancer Care, a research charity devoted exclusively to leukaemia and associated medical conditions, since 1972. In 2020, His Royal Highness wrote an article to mark the charity's 60th anniversary, reflecting on the challenges of coronavirus for people with blood cancer:
Despite it being the third most common form of cancer, public awareness of the symptoms is perilously low. To complicate matters further, many symptoms of blood cancer, such as a cough, a fever, tiredness or breathlessness, can be easily mistaken for signs of COVID-19, and as such, people may choose to isolate at home rather than investigate further. And those already diagnosed may feel that rather than risking being out in public, they would rather cancel routine appointments, potentially missing crucial signs of developments in their condition.