- Cancer Information
- Legal, work and financial issues
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Coping with side effects
Coping with side effects
The main treatments for cancer are chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Other treatments, such as hormone therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy, can also be used for some types of cancer. You may experience side effects from these treatments that make it harder to do your job. This section provides tips for managing some common side effects.
It can take time to get over the side effects of treatment. Making changes to your work hours and environment may make things easier. If treatment side effects stop you from working, your doctor may be able to change your treatment or prescribe some medicine to help you feel better. Always consult your doctor about possible side effects of medicines. Some drugs can cause drowsiness and make it hard to think clearly or operate heavy machinery safely.
Side effects can be physical and emotional. Feeling low or depressed during or after treatment is common. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling down. For help with managing depression or anxiety, see Emotions and cancer or visit Beyond Blue.
Complementary therapies, such as meditation, yoga, massage and acupuncture, may improve the side effects of treatment.
Learn more about:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Thinking and memory changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased risk of infections
- Changes in your appearance
Kerryann White, Manager, People and Culture, Cancer Council SA; Nicola Martin, Principal, McCabe Curwood, NSW; Jane Auchettl, Coordinator, Education and Training Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Alana Cochrane, Human Resources Business Partner, Greater Bank Newcastle, NSW; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, North West Regional Hospital, TAS; Dianne Head, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, NSW; Alex Kelly, Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Aon, NSW; Prof Bogda Koczwara AM, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Sharyn McGowan, Occupational Therapist, Bendigo Health, VIC; Jeanne Potts, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Michelle Smerdon, Legal and Financial Support Services Manager, Cancer Council NSW. We would also like to than the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.