Working and chemo............

I was dx with bc in Nov 07. SNB in Dec. No nodes affected. Masec on 2 Jan with full reconstruction from my back. Not hormonal. Grade 3. 2.5 cm in size. As they are classing me as young I have to have chemo. How many of you have worked whilst having chemo? This is my second primary bc. Had it in my right breast 5 years ago with again full masec and reconstruciton from my back again. However, I was in a job then that kept me on full pay for 10 months whilst I was off. I am now in a new job and only get statutory sick pay and doesn’t look like I can claim anything else. So I want to get back to work for the money and my sanity!!! Getting so bored already and only been off 3 weeks. 3 more weeks to go. If I react like I did with my last chemo then I think I should be able to work. I work full time in an office. Thanks in advance

Hi Mandy

I had mastectomy + recon in June 2005. I started chemo in July while recovering from surgery. I was on Epi CMF. I returned to work at the beginning of September before my fourth Epi and worked through that and all my CMF. I used to take the day of treatment off - and for the last Epi took the day after treatment off too. I have to admit that I felt much better for being occupied throughout.

Hope all goes well for you

best wishes K

Hi Mandy. I think we’re in the same boat, not sure whether it’s a good idea for me to work whilst undergoing chemotherapy. I’m going to start my chemo next Monday, 28th of January. I was diagnosed IBC last November, had Wide Local Excision + SNB on the 3rd of December, 3 weeks later I was told that my bc is Grade 3, Estrogen-Receptor positive, and my node was clear.
I’m terrified about losing my hair, being sick, I think I’m just terrified about everything.
My bc nurse advised me to take the whole 3 weeks off after getting the first cycle to see how I feel. I’m a nurse and work in surgical department. Not decided yet if I’m gonna take the whole 6 months off, as we get 6 months full-paid and the next 6 months half-paid.
I’m sorry I haven’t really been much help to you. I hope you’ll be able to get some help regarding working whilst on chemo.
Best wishes,
E x

Hi Mandy

I had mastectomy in Nov 2005, Grade 3 with 2 nodes, I was 37 and also had chemo/radio. i had the op off and the whole of the first Epi cycle off, felt fine and went to work all non chemo weeks after that. i was on full pay but felt better to be in the office working than not. It was fine, I worked full days every week.

I have now just had the bad news of secondary cancer and had my first chemo two weeks ago, I am mentally not ready to go back to work and do feel that second time around I feel different. However, if I do feel OK after the whle of this cycle i will certainly consider going back to work.

Good luck

Hi Mandy,

Why are you off for six weeks? I had two weeks with my mastectomy. The operation was a Friday, I had the following two weeks off and started back at work on the Monday. As for chemo, I only took off the days I felt unable to go to work. For me that meant the treatment day, and then two or three days the following week depending on how I felt. I know other women in the village where I live and they all worked all the way through too. I have a part time office job, but then go home to three teenagers…

Hey Mandy,

It all depends what chemo you get and how it affects you - everyone’s different. I had 2 AC and 3 Taxotere, finishing in mid-October. My routine was to stay off work for the first week and a half, and then go back for the last week and a half. While I was off, I’d usually do work from home from around the third day after chemo.

After my mastectomy in November, I was off work for just under six weeks - partly because Christmas was in the middle. I probably could have returned a week earlier, but actually enjoyed the few quiet days I had at home after New Year.


Everyone is different,some people work through treatment,some dont,it all depends on your treatment and your bodies reaction to the treatment…there is no one way to do things…never compare,every individuals way is their normal…wishing you all the very best Mandy…D…xx

have to say I agree with Longden.
I am just approaching my fourth chemo, having had mastectomy in Nov last year. I have been off work since my mastectomy - hadn’t been with them long enough to get contractual sick pay so just on ssp. There are probably days when I am well enough to work - but an equal amount where I’m not. However, I made the conscious decision that, having never had any time off in a 30 year career (and only 2 weeks maternity leave to have 2 children lol) - now was MY time - and financial difficulties or not this was the time to think about myself for a change. I will admit that I get bored sometimes, and I do miss work, and I definitely miss the pay! - but I keep in touch with everybody there - and I manage to fill my time mostly…as longden says we are all different…we’ll all make different choices to suit our circumstances

take care
Margaret x

hi roadrunner
i have been off work since " wait for it" august!! what do you think of that!!
like other women say on this site, we are not all the same, and we all react differently, and we all have a defferent dx, i think it also depends on what sort of employer you have some are not so understanding as others and although i have worked 17yrs in my job ( a well known supermarket ) they have not been in touch with me and don’t seem to want to know ( although im getting ssp which i am perfectly entitled to) , i admire you for carrying on working if you can along with the rest of your village, what do they put in your water and can you send me some!!


Hi All

Not started chemo yet, mast 31 Jan - chemo approx 4 weeks after I am really interested in following this thread because I am hoping to be able to continue working. 2 reasons 1. Love my job (work in a playgroup) and 2 financially need the money to keep 3 boys in all their desires.

My employer has been wonderful since my dx Nov, wle Dec, I keep going into work because I get so bored being at home I am used to being busy find it really hard to take it easy…


Yes it depends on the chemo, I like to think that I give in to nothing but I am unable to work for about 7 days after chemo. Even on the so called good week, I find it hard and come straight home to bed…my onc says I am coping well with chemo, (lol youth on my side) so for you ladies who take a pounding from the chemo and continue to work have nothing but admiration from me if you only have the day of treatment off.
I have needed work for my sanity and to remind me of life away from all the c### of BC my employer has been fab .
I am on Tax at the mo (still 3 left) so I hope to be able to continue to work.

Jackie xxxx

Road Runner. I was told by docs and hosptial to take 6 weeks off after masec. Also I am not allowed to drive for that period as not insured in the car. With no car I couldn’t really get to work. I have been told by physios that I can’t lift my arm about 90 degrees or lift anything, push anything. So another reason for 6 weeks off. Ah well.


I was told two weeks by my hospital. I was also driving again by then - I checked with both the physio & my insurance company.


Like people have said it depends on the person and how they react to the chemo whether they can carry on working or not. I reacted badly to the chemo, was in and out of hospital and wasn’t able to work at all. Other people have very few problems. Each person can only do what is right for them and feels best to them.


Hi guys

I am having chemo at the mo (4 x epi then 4 sessions of CMF divded into 8 injections) and am on cycle 3 of epi. I am currently having the first week off then back at work for 2 weeks. The 2 weeks at work i have felt good so far.

Hope you all get on ok