To work or not to work on Capecitabine

Hi All,

I wondered if there are any people here who have continued to work part-time whilst taking Capecitabine (or any other form of chemo)? 

I have discussed it with my Oncologist and she has said its my decision and up to how I feel once I have adjusted to Cape.  Onc also suggested I take ill-health retirement if I wanted but that isn’t an option for me as I don’t have a pension.

I can’t help but think that the chain of events so far (diagnosed with ER+, HER2- primary in Sept 2018, then in January 2020 secondaries to spine, pelvis and ribs…then to possible new mets in liver as of end of April 2020) mean that I am never going to have any kind of stability with my disease.  Particularly as my cancer hasn’t responded to hormone therapy very well so far.  Therefore I feel like I should just give up work altogether. 

However I really enjoy my job and I love working with my colleagues - it does my mental and emotional health a lot of good.  Work are fully supportive of me and have offered me part-time hours from home on a permanent basis.  If I’d stayed stable on the Palbociclib/Letrozole/Denosumab/Zoladex combo I would have actually returned to work next week, as I feel very well within myself and had no concerns. 

I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who is still working whilst on Cape (or similar oral chemo regime) or anyone who has experiences with continuing to work whilst having a diagnosis of SBC in general (and how you handle the unpredictability / potential treatment plan changes when it comes to scan results time).

Thank you! xxx


I returned to work a couple of weeks after my de novo diagnosis in September 2019. I am lucky to be able to work at home and have a supportive employer (a government department).

I worked for 2 weeks between my 3 weekly chemo and hormone treatments for the first few months, but was signed off for 3 months following a chest infection and a long bout of cellulitis. I returned to work 4 days a week in April.

For me, it’s been helpful to have something to focus on as I’m shielding. Sometimes I enjoy it, but having such a diagnosis makes you re-evaluate what is important (as you will know). I would rather spend my time doing things I enjoy, but covid has put a stop to that for the time being, so working is mostly a welcome distraction for the moment.

I am currently responding well to treatment but when things take a different turn, I’ll consider Ill health retirement. The biggest hurdle has been the mental and emotional challenges,  rather than the physical side effects.

The unpredictability of the disease and not knowing what course it will take is so difficult. Reading positive stories on here helps and I try to take one day at a time. Some of the time I’m okay and some days I’m not - I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s normal to have bad days and to work your way through it. Basically I try to live a normal existence and the endless appointments and uncertainty have now become normal to me.

You enjoy your job and have a great employer and colleagues, so I would continue working for as long as you want to and are able.

I hope this helps a little. Good luck!