Working during radiotherapy

Hi there

This is probably a very difficult question to answer. I am due to start radiotherapy soon and not knowing what to expect with side effects etc, do I just continue working until I feel I can’t or do you get signed off at the outset (like when you have surgery)?

I have arranged to work from home anyway until RT is over as I have come down with Covid despite being double vaccinated. I am now paranoid about catching something else or Covid again before RT starts & finishes & causing delay to the treatment.

Just wondered how others got on with working & RT treatment.

Annie xx

Annie Drink lots of water during rads, I had 20 rads and found by 3rd week the fatigue caught up a bit and was having extra snooze in the afternoon. I didn’t work at all throughout treatments. You do what’s right for you and take it a step at a time, get creams ready to slap on for afterwards to help preserve the skin you do end up like a bit of sizzled :bacon: few creams that have worked well are from organics aloe Vera and tea tree gel, moo goo, e45, aveeno but you will find the one you get on with Get vest top too so no rubbing being caused by bra if you are wearing 1. Hope this helps, others will pop on with tips and tricks to help too :two_hearts: :two_hearts: :sparkles: :sparkles: Shi xx

I worked part time for the four weeks of rad, then had two weeks entirely off at the end. Fatigue etc builds up so I probably could have stopped work in the last week, but I figured I had to go out for the appointments so I might as well keep up at work a bit. I rested a lot but also went to lots of gym classes (it was all pre-covid).

In hindsight I should have had a more gradual return to work to allow for the fatigue but it was ok.

And yes, drink lots of water! And talk to the nurses if it all starts to get a bit much, in case there are ways they can help. I got a brilliant cream that helped with my burnt skin towards the end.


I went back to work after my radiation finished.  In hindsight, it would have been good to have a few weeks off afterwards as that’s when the fatigue hit me.  We have an inbuilt thing in us to keep carrying on don’t we… do what feels right for you and don’t rush anything.  The experience is so different for us all.   I was desperate to get back to normal but now realise it’s no longer the old normal.

Wishing you all the best in this stage of recovery.


As you rightly point out everyone is different and facing different circumstances. I had a difficult time in my head reconciling work commitments following my diagnosis, thankfully I have a very sympathetic and empathetic boss who told me in no uncertain terms I wasn’t needed in work and to take all the time I needed. I got very little help or guidance from my BCN and was told I’d get a sick note from the ward for 2 weeks following my surgery, so in my mind I thought I’d be well enough to return. A conversation with my boss convinced me to remain off work pending my RT. 

At my appointment with my oncologist we established I do the same job as her husband, and she told me if she was me I shouldn’t contemplate a return to work until I was climbing the walls to go back, she recommended at least 6 weeks off to recover after the RT finished: I was very grateful for her advice. 

You also shouldn’t underestimate the affects of COVID (I had it just before my diagnosis and had to delay my initial follow up appointment) I have heard (anecdotally) long Covid is more common in women possibly due to women tending to try and work through illness. 

Hope this helps you, admittedly it’s hard to put yourself and your health ahead of work commitments but if you can afford to, take all the time you need. 

Good luck x