- Cancer Information
- Legal, work and financial issues
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Key questions about cancer and work
- Will I be able to work?
Will I be able to work?
Most people of working age who are diagnosed with cancer wonder how it will affect their ability to work. In many cases, cancer will affect a person’s work life. For example, some of your treatment appointments will probably be scheduled during business hours.
Whether you are able to work during treatment will depend on:
- the type and stage of cancer
- the type of treatment you have and its side effects
- how you feel during treatment
- the kind of work you do.
Discuss the demands of your job with your health care team. Ask them how much time off you are likely to need or whether you will be able to work throughout your treatment and recovery. See Coping with side effects to learn how to manage some common side effects of cancer treatment.
Your decision will also depend on the support and flexibility of your employer. Most people who want to keep working during treatment are able to do so in some capacity. Some people manage by adjusting their work hours – they may miss a couple of days here and there or work part-time. Others choose to take a break or retire.
Each person’s situation is different – not everyone with the same type of cancer will make the same decision about work. It’s best to do what feels right for you.
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.
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