Long tern side effects

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Hi I have grade 3 invasive triple negative  cancer full left beast mastectomy with implant & dorsel flap 6 rounds of fect5 in 2013. In 2016 I had  another grade 3 lump in the left armpit 13 limphnodes removed 3 were clear  6 rounds of fec t & 3 weeks of radiotherapy  & tamoxifen  for ten years. Lumphademi soon presented & is still very much on going issue.2023 I have had a squashimous cell carcinoma removed & had to have 4 weeks of superficial  radiotherapy.  As well as the lymphadema I suffer with periferal  nerve  damage  & fatigue  these are long term issues as well as reduced movement in my left arm from my first two fights with the big c. I suffer with anxiety  & depression  witch I have take medication  for for a lot of years 

Before my last bout of cancer work were doing a time clock change  across the company meaning we were be asked/ told we had to start later  & do later & weekends . I had a first meeting before I went off sick for radiotherapy.  I explained in this meeting as I have done over the years that I can only do Tues & Thurs  for them because after my first bout of cancer I reduced  my contract  because  i was unable to complete  the l contracted hours i had . they were the  ones wanting me to reduce my contract  after my second  bout of cancer because  I was not able to get myself  back up to the contracted hours this time. I would do overtime for them there was talk of increasing  my contract  but it never happened  & overtime would be taken away this is when I found work with another company alongside my job  with them 

So here  I am now very worried scared & confused.i have had another first meeting last week with a new department  manager I tried to explain that Tues/ Thurs are the only days I can do & why also that I don't feel able to do  lates or work past a certain  time as I have fatigue  due to treatments  & explained the levels of sleep i  need& about the nerve damage  how it effects  my body tamoxifen  the effects this also has but seemed to fall on complete deaf ears.

Plse could  you advise me on anything that would help me retain my  current  position  & hours in my work place?

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    Hi Horsey mad

    Thanks for your query. My name is Stacey from the Work Support team here at Macmillan.  It sounds like you have done well over the past 10 years to balance your treatment and work.

    Is your employer aware of their duty to provide reasonable adjustments? As you are classed as having a disability under the Equality Act 2010? (DDA Act 1995 in Northern Ireland).  For example, your employer might have reduced your hours on a temporary basis as an adjustment with a view to increasing later when you felt better. Here is link to our booklet about your rights at work when affected by a cancer diagnosis:

     Your Rights at Work

    However, it sounds like the employer asked you to change your contract on a permanent basis to the 2 days which you agreed.  Does the contract specify Tuesday and Thursdays or that it just gives a number of hours or 2 days? If the contract specifically says Tuesday and Thursday, then you could say that you are unable to work on other days/times. If the contract just specifies hours/time then they might ask you to work on different days. If the reason not to change the days is because you are receiving cancer treatment on the other days, then you can say that you need to continue with this arrangement for health reasons (linked to your cancer treatment). You also mention that you had taken another job to increase your hours and so this does show that you feel that you might be able to also work some additional hours if needed. (If it doesn’t clash with the hours of the other job – if you still have that one).  This would show that you are keen to work with the company and that you can be flexible on overtime, for example, if needed.

    If you are being asked to work extra hours that you can’t manage due to your health and treatment you could ask for a referral to Occupational Health for a medical opinion on this. You could also ask for a Fit Note from your GP or hospital saying that you are able to work but on reduced hours/duties. It unlikely that they would specify particular days unless there is a need to balance with days when you receive medical treatment.

    Here is link to information from our Macmillan website about requesting reasonable adjustments:

    Macmillan - information on reasonable adjustments

    Are you a member of trade union? They could provide some support for you if needed. If you feel particularly stressed about going to the meeting next week, could you take a colleague from work with you?  

    If you still feel worried after the meeting next week, please contact us again either on this ‘Ask the Expert’ of by contacting us  by phone or email. The contact details are given below.


    Work Support Adviser

    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.