Carers tending to a cancer sufferer are performing tasks they are not trained to do properly and often feel overwhelmed, a leading health charity has found.
Around 240,000 people care for a cancer patient who will require injections, a catheter and a change of bandages but 53% of those say they have had little or no instruction from a healthcare professional.
One in five, 21%, cancer carers who had received some training said it was not enough.
Macmillan is now calling for changes to be made to the care bill, which was discussed in the House of Lords last week, to ensure the NHS in England supports cancer carers.
Commenting on research conducted for Macmillan Cancer Support, Jane Cummings, NHS England's chief nursing officer, said: "I am committed to taking action to make sure that all patients receive the highest standard of care and that they are always treated with compassion and dignity.
"Our Compassion in Practice strategy sets out exactly how we can deliver the '6Cs' - care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. These are the core elements of our vision."
She said compassion "comes naturally to the overwhelming majority of staff," but added: "Sadly some people do not have the capacity to be compassionate and caring despite training and support. They have no place in the NHS.
"We only want staff who come to work to make a difference for their patients and are prepared to take personal responsibility for individuals in their care."
The lack of basic care, dignity and respect experienced by cancer patients in hospital is shocking.
Giving patients a positive experience when they're in hospital is as important as good medical care but sadly there's still a culture in some hospitals where hitting targets is put before the compassionate care of patients.
Macmillan Cancer Support has found that the proportion of people who will develop cancer at some point in their lives has increased by more than a third over the past two decades.
In 1992, 32% of people who died that year had been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives and by 2010, this had risen to 44%
The number who get cancer who don't die from the disease has increased by 67% over the past 20 years, in 1992, around one in five people diagnosed with cancer died from another cause, and by 2010, this had risen to more than one in three
The charity also found growing evidence that many cancer patients do not return to full health after treatments.
Macmillan Cancer Support's chief medical officer Professor Jane Maher said the fact that we liver longer as a nation and the improvement of cancer treatment are "things to celebrate".
She added that there was, however, a "need to add a serious note of caution:"
The more successful we are with treatment and cure, the more people we have living with the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment.
Many patients can be left with physical health and emotional problems long after treatment has ended. People struggle with fatigue, pain, immobility, or an array of other troublesome side-effects.
We need to manage these consequences for the sake of the patient, but also for the sake of the taxpayer. We should plan to have more services to help people stay well at home, rather than waiting until they need hospital treatment.
Almost half the number of people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer by the year 2020, a charity has warned.
Macmillan Cancer Support said the stark rise in the number of people who get, and survive, cancer poses a "herculean" challenge to the NHS.
The charity added that although almost one in two people are expected to get the disease, around four in 10 patients (38%) will not die from it.
The research was conducted from existing data on cancer prevalence, incidence and mortality, and found that the number of people who will develop cancer has increased by more than a third over the past two decades.