General cancer discussions

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Looking for a new job

Posted by

Hi. I was made redundant a few months ago and thus far have not yet secured a new role. I found out last week that the brain tumour I had surgery and radio on back in 2013 has come back - albeit only in a tiny area. Where it is makes surgery difficult but I could have radio again or chemo. After discussions I have decided to have regular scans to see what happens as I have no physical or mental symptoms.

My question is, am I obliged to tell any new potential employers my situation, I have 2 job interviews this week and I'm likely to need some form of treatment in the coming months.

My concern is that any death in service payment would be refused,  - should the worst happen - meaning my wife an children miss out on a financial lump sum. 

I'd appreciate any advice from people that have been in a similar situation

Posted by


I worked in recruitment for over ten years and would urge you not to mention any health conditions at the recruitment stage. Most employers will avoid someone who says they are likely to have protracted time off. How would you feel if you discovered that the employer has experience of cancer so thought they’d still offer you the job but saw you as less valuable as a result (less stable due to time off and a distracted worker worrying about their own health). It’s possibke that even if they are willing to look past your health condition that they then make you a lower offer as they don’t see you as productive as someone who hasn’t got the disease. Recruiters are human and fallible too. 

Once you have a job offer on the table and a written offer in your hand then things change. However, they can still withdraw the offer and go to a second choice. I urge you to think carefully about timings. I believe it would be better to have started a job and then notified HR in writing rather than precluded yourself from getting a suitable role because of employer prejudice. 

Good luck with the interviews. You’ve done well to get this far. 

My interpretation of the law is that you have a responsibility to inform your employer of your health as it may impact on the company and you should allow them to have time to make plans. However, crucially, at the recruitment stage, they are not your employer. For reassurance and clarification you could call the Macmillan’s advice line. I found them invaluable with my work related issues as a carer.