returning to work when on chemo

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  • 5 subscribers

ok so I work for for the NHS I have been signed off since 24th October I've had surgery now awaiting chemo,i miss being at work.

please can you help me out here can I work whilst on chemo,i also kept my Bank HCA so there must be something I can do, I'm  always wearing my PPE gear, my full pay has gone down to half pay until February 2023,its all a worry really,i look after myself and rest but I miss being in work,

I have put in for PIP and well I hope I get some financial help as I do worry.

Many thanks and Beautiful hugs just for some info


  • Hi Flower123,

    It's Megan here from Macmillan's Online Community team. Thank you for posting a question to our Work Support Advisers, I am just responding to your message to let you know that our Work Support team have seen your question and are working to respond to your question as soon as they can. We hope you will find it helpful to hear from our Work Support team and are able to access the right support.

    In the meantime, we hope you'll find lots of support from reading other posts in the Ask an Expert section and by posting in our Community groups. If you need any help using the Online Community, please don't hesiate to email, 

    Best wishes, 

    Macmillan's Online Community team

  • Hi Flower123 

    Thank you for contacting Macmillan Cancer Support. I am sorry to hear about your Cancer diagnosis and hope you are recovering well from your surgery. My name is Linda and I am one of the Work Support Advisers.

    Working during treatment is very much a personal choice. Some patients can manage to work whilst others cannot. I can appreciate that it must be difficult for you not working at the moment when you clearly love your job and miss being there.

    Your GP and Oncologist may be able to help you with your return to work and identifying possible reasonable adjustments you may need. They can share this information on your fit note about the adjustment you may need.

    We also have a team of Cancer Information Nurse Specialists here on the Macmillan Support Line that you can chat with regarding working during your treatment. They can be contacted 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm on 0808 808 0000.

    It may also be useful to ask to be referred to Occupational Health who can assess you and make some suggestions as to whether they believe it is safe to work and what support you may need in the workplace to accomplish this.


    As you have a cancer diagnosis you are considered to have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). This means your employer should not discriminate against you because of your cancer. Your employer is also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work. This protection is lifelong and does not depend on an active cancer diagnosis. I have attached a link our booklet “Your Rights at Work’”, which explains more about the Equality Act and how you are protected in the workplace.


    You can request a reasonable adjustment in the workplace, providing you can relate it back to your cancer. Your employer has a duty to consider all reasonable adjustments and a failure to do so could suggest disability discrimination. If your employer rejects a reasonable adjustment request, they need to be able to demonstrate why it is “unreasonable” for them to accommodate or it could suggest that you are being treated less favourably as a disabled person. If you feel this applies, it would be advisable to seek further advice.

    Our area of expertise on the Work Support Team focuses on employment law and making sure people are aware of their rights. You mentioned that you are already on half pay until February 2023 and that finances are a bit of a worry.  As such, benefit queries are outside our remit and so I would need to direct you to a team of Macmillan Welfare Rights advisers.

    The Welfare Rights team is unfortunately not currently available on our Online Community so I unable to facilitate a response via the Community. However, they are available to speak to by calling 0808 808 0000 from Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm and weekends from 9am until 5pm by selecting option 1, followed by option 2 and option 2 again. Alternatively, you can email them your query directly using this link.


     I do hope that this information will help you to make the correct decision .

    Kind Regards



    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.