After a diagnosis of cancer, patients and their families and friends experience a significant need for information about the illness, treatment and prognosis, as well as support. Structured education and support group-based programmes play a major role in meeting these needs. Following a needs assessment in 1985, the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria (ACCV), Australia, initiated development of the Living With Cancer Education Programme (LWCEP), a structured 8-week group programme providing education and support for people with cancer and their families and friends. This paper provides an historical overview of the LWCEP, as well as an outline of the programme aims, structure, content and delivery. Recent developments and future directions are also discussed. These include adaptation of the programme for individuals with advanced or recurrent cancer, modification of the programme structure and revision of the evaluation methodology.