Working after treatment ends

Work is an important part of life for many people. Aside from income, work can provide satisfaction, a sense of normality, a means of maintaining self-esteem, and a chance to socialise.

If you took time off work for treatment and are returning to an existing job, talk to your employer about a return to work plan. It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about your capacity to undertake your usual tasks.

For some people, returning to the same job may not be possible due to changes in ability and length of time away. The desire to reduce work-related stress or seek more meaningful work may also motivate people to change jobs.

Learn more about:

Do I have a right to return to my job?

Australian laws require an employer to take reasonable steps to accommodate the effects of an employee’s illness, e.g. providing new office equipment or making adjustments to your workstation.

If you are unable to carry out your previous role, your employer doesn’t have to offer you a different job unless your cancer is work-related.

Must I disclose I had cancer in job applications?

While some people may want to tell a potential employer that they have had cancer, you don’t need to unless it is relevant to the position. If you are asked about a gap in your résumé, you can say that you had a health issue and it’s now resolved.

A prospective employer is permitted to ask you about your ability to perform tasks that are an essential part of the job, e.g. lifting heavy boxes. If some tasks are a problem for you because of the cancer or treatment, it’s best to mention this at the interview.

What if I can no longer work?

If cancer or its treatment has made it impossible to return to your previous work, then rehabilitation and retraining programs can prepare you for another job. Your employer may have a rehabilitation scheme or you could discuss this with your GP. You may be eligible for a payout through your income protection insurance. If you are unable to return to work, contact Centrelink on 132 717 to see if you are eligible for the Disability Support Pension or other payments.

Discrimination at work

A lack of knowledge about cancer may mean some people are treated differently at work after a cancer diagnosis. Employers and colleagues may think you need more time off or wonder about your ability to work and perform your usual role.

Anyone who has had cancer is protected by the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992, which prevents employers from discriminating against people with disabilities in the workplace.

For further advice:

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Living Well After Cancer.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2018
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Life after cancer treatment
Programs and support for people who have finished treatment

Cancer Council Online Community
A community forum – a safe place to share stories, get tips and connect with people who understand

ENRICH – a free healthy lifestyle program
A face-to-face exercise and nutrition program for cancer survivors

Cancer information

Legal, financial, workplace and small business assistance
Learn about the range of services we offer that cover legal, financial and workplace that may be related to your cancer diagnosis.

Cancer, Work and You
Cancer and its treatment can affect many aspects of a person’s life, including work. If you are a worker or employer learn more about managing work after a cancer diagnosis.

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends