Going to work during chemotherapy

Hi, just looking for some advice please. I’ve had my first cycle of chemo (FEC) last week and have a sick line for work for 3 weeks as advised by my oncologist but wondering if anyone is going to work during their treatment? I work in a local hospital as a typist and don’t have patient contact but my doctors that I work for do so just wondering if you think it would be ok for me to return to work throughout my treatment if I’m feeling ok? 

Thank you 


I think it depends on the individual. If you feel that you would be ok to work during treatment I don’t see why not?

However, just remember that as chemo progresses, you may feel more and more unwell as your body may struggle to bounce back as quickly from the side effects.

So maybe play it by ear? Don’t commit yourself for the foreseeable, just maybe see you will work whilst you can, but it might not be for the whole duration.


i had my first chemotherapy last week (10th) and I came back in to work on Monday. I’m just doing a few hours each day, I do feel completely wiped out when I get home but I feel so much better psychologically as for the short time I’m here I feel like me again. I don’t see members of the public but the staff I manage do (social care) so they stay awY from me if they have been in contact with someone who’s poorly. 

I think it’s down to the individual, some of my family and friends don’t feel I should be working and one nurse at the hospital said not to but I just think whilst I feel able to it’s going me good. I still have days when I feel queasy and I have indigestion and mouth ulcers but working stops me analysing every ache and pain. 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. 

Mandy xx

Hi Donna, is there any way you could do the work you do from home? Or go in to collect stuff once or twice a week?  I have finished 7 cycles of EC and  Paclitaxel and I can honestly say it would have worn me out to go into the office and carry on working regularly. I had a  6month sick note for ‘adjusted working conditions’ from my GP and my company has been great, set me up to work on the company network remotely (which works really well surprisingly, I thought there would be more technical problems) and I can be flexible about my hours. 

I was hit hard by nausea for the first week of the cycle so usually took that week off, but then worked the other two weeks of the three-week cycle. Side effects were accumulative though so found I was feeling grotty for 10 days by the end of treatment. However my experience was ‘particularly torrid’ as the oncologist put it so hopefully you’ll have an easier time. 

Another reason for working at home if you can  would be to avoid infection. I would have had to commute on train and tubes over the winter months so was advised not to by my consultant.  As it was,  I still ended up in hospital with neutropenic sepsis just due to a banal cold ? and I don’t even know where I got that from.

Also remember when thinking about work is to put yourself first. Take time to relax and chill. You will feel tired as you go through treatment so don’t wear yourself out more than necessary. Main advice is to just go with the flow, work when you feel ok and do whatever you feel up to.