Dirty Secret?

Hi Girls

I would appreciate your comments. It has been about 4 years since I was diagnosed with bc I lost my job and after treatment secured another one. I feel that I would like to try and get less hours so applied for a few positions and fortunately I have had 2 interviews. What I would like to ask is, has anyone told their new employers that they have had bc and at what stage of the job process did they do it. I haven;t mentioned it as yet, but I am sure that if I am fortunate to get offered a position I will have to have a medical. When I think about it I always feel that I have this dirty secret and I will be exposed at any time, and then the other half of me wants to shout it from the roof top as I feel that this is society who is making me feel this way.

If it was me and you are have been off treatment for so long, I wouldn’t mention it at all unless they specifically ask. It is usual for an employer to ask if there are any health issues which may affect your work, usually chronic conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, angina etc. In your case, this isnt applicable as you are not having any treatment. You may be asked at a medical, in which case the medical staff will realise you are better and therefore shouldnt be a problem. I dont think you should regard having BC as a dirty secret, anymore than you would it you had any other form of serious illness from which you have made a full recovery. Tell them if you want to but dont think you have to.

I understand your thinking on this . I was dx in Jan and have completed my treatment - surgery and rads. My job is not very secure at the moment and I am starting to look elsewhere. So far I have only applied for one job and that application came with a section that you had to state time off for illness over the last 3 years … so I had no option but to confess the dirty secret. In a way it was quite handy as I was able to say I took 2 weeks off for surgery and then worked through my rads … which I think might put me in a good light for not slacking.

In your situation I would be honest if asked, especially as you are 4 years down the line.

good luck with your job search.

Hi Girls

Thank you for your replies. Maybe the word ‘dirty’ was too strong, but that is the way that I felt going through treatment and now I feel that I have to try so much harder in my job. Others in my office take time off for sickness and I have only had 2 days off in nearly 3 years because I feel that I had to prove that I am well. (The company where I work took me on 2 weeks after finishing chemo which I am very grateful for.) Even though I am 4 years down the line from diagnoses I sometimes feel that I am in this surreal world and that at any time I could easily slip back into the ‘bad place’ again. I am going for an interview tomorrow for a position that I would really love and I know that I will have to have a medical, my friend who also works for this organisation insists that it would be very un- PC of them to hold something like the illness against me, but hey these things happen. People are just frightened when the word cancer is said, you can just see it in their eyes. I always think ’ there for the grace of God’!

Anyway …enough of my rambling, thanks again for the advice, I guess I will just see what happens, I almost want to test them to see if it does make a difference.

I don’t know whether this will help or not, and i am fully aware of employees that think they can ignore law, but we are covered by the disability discrimination act (DDA) from the diagnosis date.
I am not certain whether this is applicable to all employers but certainly a lot offer a “guaranteed interview” for those of us covered by the DDA, (obviously we have to declare it) - it doesn’t give you the job though it puts you on a level playing field along with other applicants to combat the kind of discrimination that can occur when people make judgements.
I understand that companies are not likely to say we are not giving you the job / not offering you an interview because you have had bc but remember there is law out there designed to protect us. If you were offered the job then upon the medical they retract the offer you would be in a very good position to challenge.
Best of luck xx

The organisation I work for employed a lady who had had BC. Allthough I’m feeling a bit like I’m now not as marketable as I used to be.

To one lancs lass to another! I am half way through my chemo, due surgery and rads next year and I have just got a new job! Ye Hey! Onc has written a letter to support my working and I just have to get an occupational health report completed. I was upfront about my illness and ‘reasonable adjustments’ e.g time off for med appointments etc. The employers does subscribe heavily to recruitment/employment directives driven by legislation which might have helped as I did think ‘who would employ me now?’ - as in RIGHT NOW! But your situation is different to mine given you are in remission?

The Equality and human rights commission - google as equalityhumanrights - have loads of info that will help!

Good luck

Hi Georgibella

Way to go!!! How fantastic are you? Good luck with the rest of your chemo, at least you are over the hill and on the way down now. Well…out of 150 people I was offered the job, it really is one that I would love even though it’s less money than what I’m on now I feel that it will open new doors. They haven’t mentioned anything to do with health at the moment so I will just go with the flow, I won’t lie but I am not going to volunteer any information as yet.

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When I re-negotiated my contract to work 3 days a week following my treatment my employer put in a clause saying they have the right to disclose my “Health History” to any future Employers or providers of Services, I had to sign the contract !! I am sure it wasn’t in the proof copy, When I asked they said the Lawyer had included it. Not sure this is Legal or weither they would act upon iy but Ladies beware…