applying for a new job- how much to divulge?

applying for a new job- how much to divulge?

applying for a new job- how much to divulge? After this life changing experience, looking now at having a change of job in the future. Can i ask you well informed girls what is the best thing to put on your CV/ application form or at an interview. Is honesty the best policy or will a prospective employer be wary about employing someone who has had breast cancer??? What have any of you done when applying for jobs and have any of you felt it ruined your chances!!! Advice please

Hi Gracie

I too would love to change job/lifestyle after cancer treatment. I’m only halfway and rads will complete the journey for me in November.
Well done you for taking this step.
I read somewhere on this site that bc patients are protected under the disability in employment act I think it was. Perhaps someone more clued up could help with this.
I have not applied for a job in a while. Do these personal details have to be revealed ?
I’ll watch this thread with interest


Yes, you are covered by the disability discrimination act, which means that a potential employer cannot discriminate against you because of your breast cancer experience. There are more details on this site, can’t remember where offhand.

If you are not undergoing any further treatment, and the breast cancer is irrelevant to the job, I think I would not mention it at first (unless asked). If no one asked for any medical history, I would wait until I had got as far as being offered the job, and then mention it.

That’s just my opinion, good luck in your career change.

health info I was in much the same situation this time last year. I had been a Primary supply teacher for 8 years when I was diagnosed in sept 04. After the usual slash,poison and burn I felt that a change of pace was called for. I signed up with a job broker
Their job is to try to get people like me back into a viable job.I had a personal advisor who searched for jobs for me and gave me advice on doing some permitted work etc.
She was very good and answered many questions simialr to yours -about applications and heath details /hours of work etc.
I applied for a few jobs before getting the one Im doing now. I work for DWP (job centre) and have settled into my new job really well.
I put all details about my treatment etc as necessary on all the forms I filled in. This has paid off as I still have to attend hospital for ongoing treatment once every 3 months ( part of Azure trial - lasts for 10 years!) and there have been no questions asked . I also got a privilege parking space as a reasonable adjustment under DDA (prompted by someone on this site - sorry can’t recall who now -but thank you 1000 times)
By telling all on the form though I wasnt telling everyone in the building. Very few people know my history and only then because Ive chosen to tell them.
Im so glad I changed my job and I urge you to do the same if at all possible. I never enjoyed all those so called holidays when I was teaching and now I relish every day off I get.

I too worried about this When I got cancer my so called employers stopped paying me sick pay when I had, had it before. As I hadn’t been there long I didn’t have a leg to stand on. So ended up only taking three days off for each chemo, because I had bills to pay and couldn’t afford to stay off work, basically!

I didn’t relish the fact that I felt ill, kept throwing up but still had to work.

I’m know that in the future I’ll find a job with an employer that respects the fact that I had breast cancer and is sympathic. Its funny how going through the cancer experience makes you relish every moment.

As far as I know you have to put down your number of sick days and a reason on most application forms but you are covered by the dissability act and they cant refuse you an interview because you have had breast cancer. And if they refuse to see you then they weren’t worth working for in the first place.

I sat last night and went through all my old photos and looked back at my life, it has been fantastic. But my future is going to be even better! and your will too! What makes you bad makes you better and ten times stronger! You will find a job that you love and an employer who cares, as will I!

All the best

To disclose or not to disclose I fretted over telling my new employer about my breast cancer. I am a teacher, and finished my training while on chemo. When I started my new position, I was just six months out of treatment, and decided not to divulge any information about my medical history until the medical questionnaire.

I think they were a bit shocked at first to learn that I had had breast cancer twice, and wrote to my doctor to ask whether he thought I was fit to work. Bless him, he rang me to ask me what he should write since he hadn’t seen me for over two years.

A short while after starting my new job, my new boss’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy and chemo. I think it gave him a whole new take on things, and certainly changed his perspective on employing people with breast cancer. I think he now sees that there is no taboo about having breast cancer and that generally people have it, deal with it, and move on - at least to all outward appearances!


applying for a new job Hi Gracie,
I think you have to decide what is right for you. I had just been appointed to a new post when I had my diagnosis in August last year. I was worried because I would have to take time off for treatment and the job didn’t start until after surgery.
I went to talk to my new line manager and she informed the occy health dept. I would have had to fill in a medical form anyway. I filled in the form and they contacted my oncologist.
Anyway I started work on 1st October last year and have been very well supported by the whole team. I work hard and they give me time to go for treatment and have been fantastic.
I sometimes feel that I am not the same person they appointed as I have been through so much and now look v. different - hair has grown back silvery grey - put on weight and some days my brain is on holiday all on its own. But I usually get there in the end.

Good Luck whatever you decide to do, and good luck with the job hunting.


I am also wanting to get a new job and undertake some training, had an offer of the post that I wanted last year 2 days before diagnosis, but couldn’t take it because of illness and university place could not be kept open.
Have applied to same employer this year who I obviously informed last year about my cancer. She interviewed me for a post that was not the same one that I had last year funding problems. However she was fantastic, insisted that nobody on the interview panel mentioned my illness, and although she was not my employer had generally kept in contact on and off over the last year. She did offer me the lesser job but although I would definately like to work with her I would not be able to cope financially on the available salary.
In contrast I applied for a different post and I decided prior to interview to confirm a few details. When speaking to a senior manager who was on the interview panel on the phone she started to quiz me regarding my " health problems" and wanted to know what my “prognosis” was. I was so angry because in my mind it was blatant discrimination. The fact was that I had never mentioned my illness and the information must have come from one of my referees. I withdrew my application and have written a letter of complaint,as yet to receive a reply!

New job after bc!

I remember wondering during treatment who would want me after all this? I think I felt like a liability.

I got a new job as a dental receptionist in November last year and really love it.

My new boss has a daughter who has been treated for a brain tumour and will be undergoing further treatment to remove more of it and so he understands more than most exactly what is involved in living with cancer.

Even having Herceptin 3 weekly hasnt caused a problem, I havent had any more sick time since starting work than any of the other employees and I have been allowed within reason to choose hours which will make hosp visits easier.

I couldnt have wished for a better outcome after over a year off sick, so for those of you wondering what you might be able to do just know you are worth employing and go for what you want. If people see it as a problem you wouldnt want to be working for them anyway would you!

Take care


(and a big hello to wynn!)

you are protected under the disability discrimination act. to be honest though some employers may think of a different reason not to offer you the job as the reality is they will think you are going to have a lot of time off sick. The best thing to do is reveal it only when asked, if you don’t get the job and feel you were suitably qualified then ask for feedback. if you think that the company have held your cancer against you then you can take a claim. ACAS will help you with this. Good luck as not all employers are bad.


I started a new job about 3 months after all my treatment finished (far too early in retrospect!!!). The interview for the job was arranged by a friend who was also my manager for my old company so in a way I had an easy first foot in the door. I was honest about my situation and the company have been wonderful. Initially only my line manager, the Managing Director and the HR team were aware but gradually I started to tell a few colleagues as well. Its easier in some ways if people know as it explains the frequent hospital visits (I’m on the Azure trial and still being seen every 3 months + visits to my surgeon and the BCN for a new prosthesis etc). Also when I caught flu a few months ago it really knocked me for six, and I think people understood more why I needed so many days off.

Its daunting going back to work, especially starting a new job and I’ve needed lots of support from my family and friends but I’m finally getting my life back and finding a bit of normality ( thankful though for this site). Good Luck to all of you just thinking about going back to work, but one piece of advice - pace yourself, rest when you need to, its amazing how tired you get!!!

Lots of love

As someone who works in personnel I thought some of you might find my experience interesting.
When diagnosed I was just about to finish a temporary job. I chose to take the time off to get thru my treatments before looking for my next job. I was glad I did as not having to worry about work was a relief. I had 9 months off in all - WLE, chemo & radio.
When I started to think about returning to work I was really worried - I know when I interview people I look at absence records.
I decided to be honest about my situation and was amazed at the response I got. So many people are touched by cancer in their, or their friends & families lives.
I went for 3 interviews (one was a failure due to a hot flush & wig!) and 2 resulted in job offers.
What I realised was - good employers are much more interested in your ATTITUDE than your illness.


Career after cancer I thought you might be interested in my experience: I applied for a new job (had to leave the old one due to pressure to return before I had finised treatment) 2 months after having finised treatment (surgery/chemo/radio). I was very honest on the application form and explained about my illness. I was interviewed, offered the job, accepted and thought no more about it.

However, 6 months afer having started, I had my first review and was told that senior management and personnel didn’t want to employ me because of my cancer history and my line manager had to fight them to have me as I was the preferred candidate. altough it was explained to me that obviously my manager had done me a massive ‘favour’ in offering me the job. Can you imagine how that made me feel?

A couple of months later another manager told me ‘confidentially’ exactly the same thing and I was told that the compromise that they reached with personnel was that I could be employed but my probationary period should be 8 months instead of 6 and that I should be taken on at the bottom of the salary scale. So as a result of having cancer I now earn less than I should.

I’m aware that this is against the Disability Discrimination Act but what, in all honesty, can I do? I enjoy my job and am training for a new career and any action that I did take would jeopodise that. So, yes disclose the fact that you’ve had cancer but the picture, as far as employers are concerned, is far from rosey - and I work for a Local Authority so you would have hoped that they might be a little more enlightened! Very disappointing!!

Shocked Oleander I am utterly shocked at the attitude of your employers and what they have done, and the fact that you were told “confidentially” makes it hard for you to divulge to anyone what you know about their discrimanatory actions. They are acting in a very underhand (not to say illegal) way and really their actions should be exposed (especially as they are a Local Authority who should be above reproach in such matters). I realise that because you don’t want to jeopardise your job or your career it makes it hard to say anything, but I strongly feel you should take the opportunity to say to one of these people “confidentially” that what they did was illegal, and that you are aware of this and so should they be. I totally understand that you may feel you can’t do this - when you are working with these people it makes it very hard, but they really shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.