Work and life after cancer

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  • 3 subscribers
  • Hiya I was diagnosed last year march with her2 positive hormonal breast cancer I’m now cancer free but I still have up and down days my emotions get the better of me i just want to know if anyone in my position has returned to work or taken early retirement or worked part time.

  • I’m a care assistant I have been employed for 32 years but I’m 50 soon turning 51 next month.
  • Hello  

    Thank you for reaching out to us with this question. My name is Polly and I am a work support advisor on the Macmillan support line.


    It is good to hear that you are cancer free, but I can appreciate that recovery from a cancer diagnosis is slow and difficult.


    It is now usual for cancer patients to return to work following treatment however when this happens will depend on your job and your health. The first step is to ask your health team or your GP whether you are well enough to go back to work and ask for their advice about your health. They can provide a fit note which includes recommendations about what you need to get back to work


    You have important legal protections because cancer is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (if you live in Northern Ireland). You are protected from disability discrimination and the employer is legally obligated to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work


    Here are some examples of reasonable adjustments:

    1. They can give you light duties or an alternative role. This could include additional training.
    2. A phased return to normal hours
    3. Physical aids or adaptations to help you do your job.
    4. Changing the location of your work.


    Please have a look at the ACAS Website and at our booklet Your Rights at Work.

    If you live in Northern Ireland, please see the Equality Commission website


    Reasonable adjustments can be identified through an occupational health referral or by advice from your health team.


    You will need advice about from our Financial Guidance team about accessing your pension early due to your health. It is important to obtain this advice before you agree to any changes in your contract such as a reduction in your hours because some pensions are calculated on your final salary.


    Here is a link to information about the Macmillan Support Line. The Financial Guides are open Monday to Friday between 8 AM and 6:00 PM


    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