Getting back to work

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Having had my bladder and prostate removed and having a stoma  is it safe to lift heavy packages and boxes at work or should i take it a bit easier . I worry that i could get a hernia or worse damage my stoma . I have been on light duties since returning to work 

  • Hi Maci

    My name is Linda and I am a Work Support Adviser on our National Support Line. I can advise on your Rights at Work if you have been affected by Cancer.


    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.

    Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people are not disadvantaged in the workplace. They should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage.

    You mention that your Employer have agreed to lighter duties for you at work and this is an example of a reasonable adjustment. It is important to have regular meetings with your Manager to address any concerns you have and to discuss any further potential support you may need at work. You can also ask your Employer if they will refer you to Occupational Health for an independent medical assessment as they can make recommendations in their report for you to have support at work as a reasonable adjustment.

    Your question relates to if it is safe for you to lift heavy packages or boxes at work and this is a question that is best answered by your medical team or your Cancer Nurse Specialist if you have one.

    We do have Cancer Information Nurse Specialists here at Macmillan that you can chat to although they do not have access to your  NHS medical records but would be able to give you general advice on heavy lifting after surgery. You can post your question here or call them if you prefer. They are available from 8am – 8pm 7 days a week on 0808 808 0000 option 1 . option 3.

    I hope this has addressed your concern but please do get back in touch with us if you require any further support.

    Kind Regards



    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