Returning to work after radiotherapy

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Hi, I have been off work for the last 4 weeks whilst having radiotherapy for prostate cancer which I used my holiday hours for. 

My Nurse Specialist has said that she can provide a fit note for further time off if needed. 

My question is, how long should I take off?

My employer has been very understanding and has allowed me to reduced my hours and put me on light duties.

I have been assessed by the DWP and receive LCWRA but usually work 20 hours a week.

Any advice would be great 

  • Hello  ,

    Thank you for your question. My name is Polly, and I am a work support advisor on the Macmillan support line.


    Radiotherapy can have an impact on the ability to do your job and you may need time off both during your treatment and for some time afterwards so that you can recover. Some patients say that they suffer fatigue because of radiotherapy others have physical symptoms.


    How long you will need will depend on how you react to the treatment and the nature of your job.

    Whether your job is physically or mentally demanding you may require a gentle re- introduction to work as you build up your strength.


    Before you think about returning to work, I suggest you consult with the health team in the hospital or your GP. Can the health team approve a return to work? This is an important question because it must be safe for you to return. If the team can give you a fit note that confirms you can do some work this is the starting point of a conversation with your employer about what a return to work looks like. The health team can also make suggestions about what you need to get back to work for example they could say on the fit note “lighter duties” or “phased return” . They can also say that you are not well enough and you are not “Not fit for work”. It is important to follow medical advice.


    Cancer is one of the few conditions that are automatically deemed to be a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (if you live in Northern Ireland)

    This means that once the employer knows about your disability then all the legal responsibilities under these acts are triggered. Please have a look at the ACAS website for more information.


    The employer must make changes or provide equipment that alleviates any disadvantage that you have in relation to your cancer. If it is decided that you need additional support which the employer cannot afford or if you need transport to and from work, then Access to Work can help.


    It can be a very worrying time when you're dealing with your cancer treatment. If you need advice about money, benefits or health please reach out to our Macmillan Support Line Services .


    Work Support Advisor
    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