going back to work after breast cancer

going back to work after breast cancer

going back to work after breast cancer i was dianosed with non-invasive grade 2 breast cancer in january this year, going back to work next week, getting very worried am i doing the right thing i’m 43 yr old

Hi Christine

I am just at the beginning of my treatment chemo starts this week, but I would be worried about going back to work also. I don’t have a job at the moment so going back afterwards will be a big step for me. I am sure once you get into the swing of things you will be alright, and it will give you a new focus.

Hope things go okay, sorry I can’t be of more help.

Take care
Diane x

Hi Christine,

I went back to work recently. Did it gradually over a few weeks, but still found it very tiring. I am a receptionist and found it hard to make small talk at first. it all seemed so petty after what I went through (still going through!). It has got easier - you have to be patient with yourself and NOT overdo it. Listen to your body, and don’t do more than you are able to.

I have some good friends at work and the clients have been wonderful too. It was nice to slip back into a more normal life where I could put breast cancer aside for a short while.

Wishing you all the best!

Jacki xx

Hi Diane I hope your chemo go’s ok. my 15 raidotherapy treatments went over very fast , I went back to work to day for four hours it was very hard felt like crying at one point, no management came to help me settle in or just to find out if i was coping, just left me to get on with it, all my good friends came over to give me a cuddle and support that was great, and others droped their heads and ran past me, i no that they will just be worried about saying the wrong thing but i feel that wont help me. i hope as time go’s by people can talk to me about the c word,as ive never had a problem talking about it i think it always helps to talk.

I hope things go well for you and your treatment go’s over fast like mine did take care Christine x

Hi Bunny/Mum I went back to work to day ,not to good felt like crying at one point , none of the management team came over at all to help me settle in, didn’t feel to good about that, but my good friends all came over and give me a cuddle and their support that was great, the other colleagues that were probably worried about saying the wrong thing droped their heads and ran away that didn’t make me feel good at all, i feel time will make it easyier for them i hope . I’m pleased that you had a good experience on your return to work and feel that mine will get better with time. Take Care Christine x

Hi Christine,

Sorry you had a tough time today. Sounds like you have some good friends there though.

I work at a vets and the practice manager (who works at a different practice and different time to me) didn’t even bother to check how I got on for several days. Her excuse - “too busy”! We’re only a small practice! Some nurses felt uncomfortable asking much, but were always on hand to help. My boss who’s the head vet was good and is more understanding now that her mum has cancer.

I have good days bad days. Sometimes it’s a struggle to go in, but I try to take one day at a time and work through that.

I’m sure it will get more comfortable for you as time goes on. I’m sure many people care, but haven’t a clue what to say. Management - well they’re a bit clueless sometimes!!!

Big (((((HUGS)))) from me - hope tomorrow is easier for you!!

Jacki xx

Working Hi Christine

Think it is different for everyone. Definately scary going back to work, other peoples reactions to BC can be very bizarre, but I found most people wonderful.

I went back to work 2 weeks after my WLE and lymph node biospy, and found it helped a lot. Stopped me thinking that BC was ruling my life although I only managed a week. Unfortunately results last Monday meant I was back Tues for re-excision and axillary clearance, but I will go back to work as soon as I can, and hope to work through my chemo.

Is there anyone else who has managed to work while having chemo? Would appreciate some tips on how to manage.

Sounds like you are being very strong Christine, hope it goes well.


Hi Christine

I’m also 43 and was diagnosed in August of last year. I am planning to return to work over the next few weeks and, like you, am very worried.

One of my main fears is that I won’t be able to actually do my job due to chemobrain. I have to do financial calculations as part of my job and I am convinced I am going to mess them up as my concentration is awful.

But I do think getting back to some kind of normality and routine is an important part of the healing process. As long as you feel physically and mentally well enough to do your job, the emotional side should hopefully sort itself out with time.

Good luck. Let me know how it is!

Lola x

BETTER DAY hello sunny how are you feeling today ? my day went alot better thank you ,i work with my twin sister it was her day off yesturday but to day she has helped me no end ,she is always striaght to the point and i worry all the time about up setting people,she had cervical cancer 20 yrs ago so she knows what its like.I guess because to day went well she must have gone around most people and had her say she has always looked after me sorting my battles out at school and work ,i could never tell her if some one had up set me for what she might do but to day i’m pleased she is like that . Sorry to here you had to go back on Monday hope everything went ok for you please let me know how you got on take care christine

Hi Christine Good to hear you had a better day - I am lucky to have sisters too. They have been great.

My day was not so good, the wound from my re-excision has become infected - very hot to the touch and sore - so I have started antibiotics. The good news is that as it is so swollen in now matches the size of the other one (every cloud… )

Waiting for results next Monday, and to find out what exciting things they have in store for me. Hope I can get back to work soon, as it seems to be the best thing for keeping me sane (daytime tv is mind numbing).

Hope work is not too tiring for you. Hear that radiotherapy can be totally exhausting for a while. Thank you for replying to my post - you probably realised it was my first and was sooo important to get an answer - made me feel much better. Although people around me are great, its good to talk to someone who you know really understands. You have done more than you realise. Good luck with work tomorrow.

Sunny x

Hi everyone Have read your posts with interest. I have been able to go back to work during chemo so far - have had 3 x FEC and not been too bad. But I usually work full time and have only worked 4 hours a day for around 2 weeks out of the 3. It is VERY flexible and my work have been brilliant - it’s a small company, only about 20 of us, they are very supportive and it has really helped keep my mind busy. I am lucky in that they are paying me around half pay anyway.

But I am not doing my full job - I do find it hard when talking in a goup as concentration is not at its best - I am just honest about it - I have concentrated on specific projects and they have been genuinely pleased with my contributions.

I understand that not all companies can or want to be this flexible, but I think they have an obligation to assist your return to work, with a gradual return being the best option.

I start on Taxotere tomorrow (hence my being awake into the early hours - high on steroids), so not sure if I will be able to continue working as it may be a lot harder than the FEC, but if I am able I will do some hours.

Good luck to everyone of you, hang on in there :slight_smile:


Hi Lola thanks for your kindness, I’m four days in to work now only doing four hours aday in stead of nine, but boy am i drained when i get home, it’ll be a long time before i go back full time,it was hard at first but every day is getting easier. I’m sure you will do fine when you go back you just have to take it slow at first. as for emotions they are still all over the place but their is alot of very kind people at work that want to help even colleagues i never worked with before i’m sure you will find the same. GOOD LUCK for when you go back take care christine

Hi Sunny how are you feeling to day ? sorry to here about your infection hope your antibiotics work fast for you. I only had radiotherapy and had no problems at all so far. i find the best thing is to think positive at all time and eat a heathy diet. there is a book called eat to beat cancer by Rosy Daniel you can get it over the internet or in all good book shops . take care christine hope to here from you soon x

Thanks Christine. I’m glad things are getting better for you. A teacher at my mum’s school has just returned too following a similar treatment regime to me and she was exhausted for the first few days. But, like you, she says it is slowly getting easier.

I’m using my accrued annual leave to return to work gradually. I considered starting with half days but wasn’t sure. You have convinced me that is the right thing to do.

I was also worried about colleagues’ reactions - thought maybe they would all just be gettting on with things and forget how ‘sick’ I have been, so that is encouraging too.

Although I’m a little worried I’m also strangely looking forward to it!

Lola x

Hi Christine Have been off visiting family… to take my mind off results tomorrow.

Infection is much better, thank you, and I hope to go back to work later next week, before the chemo starts.

Have a huge mortgage (in relation to my salary) and I’m a single mum so working as much as I can, but think its good because it keeps me focused, and people at work are amazingly supportive.

Its good to read about you going back to work and life finally getting back to normal. How you get your head around it all is beyond me! Think you are amazing.

Sunny x

Working Dear All

I would like to work as much as possible while I am having treatment. I have not started yet, chemo on Friday, but is it really not feasible to think I can continue working?

Your advice would be appreciated.


Hi Cecelia I don’t no if i can be any help to you, i never had chemo i had raidiotherapy , i work in a large supermarket and on my feet for nine hours a day five days a week so i toke four and half months out , only went back two weeks ago doing four hours aday , it is getting better each day but to day i lost track of the time and did five hours came home very tired .the only advice i can give is to listen to your body it will tell you what you can cope with i hope i’ve helped you a little . take care christine123

Hi Sunny I hope you had a relaxing time visitting your family? its good to here your infection is getting better, my boob has been sore for a few days but i think its my bra rubbing now that one is smaller than the other. but its a small price to pay. How did you get on yesturday with your results good news i hope, can i just say you must be amazing your self a single mum and dealing with bc at the same time takes a strong person , i have a husband to talk to but sometimes he puts his head in the sand because he would rather forget that it has happend in the first place. but i sill talk weather he is listening or not so i can still get it off my chest, take care christine