Working during rads treatment

Has anyone attempted to work during their rads treatment? My bcn seems to think that this is ok. My work colleagues are applaud (work as nurse) and accept that I will be off. Travelling is 1hr there and back again so I can see that this is going to take up some of my day. Rads due in 2wks.
Also how long was it before you went back to work after rads?

I worked right through my rads treatment (100% my choice not the companies) I had 25 blasts from 4 angles and then 4 boosters just to the tumor site. I arranged my appointments for as late as possible - they gave me 3.40pm and I worked from 8am to 2.15ish. A voluntary driver took my to the hospital (about an hour or more if the traffic was bad). I had my rads then the driver took me home (in the same town as I work so the journey back was much the same time). My booster sessions were about mid-day so I worked 8-11ish and intended to go back to work in the afternoon but work told me not to.

I was fit and well throughout all my treatment and returned to work 14 days post-surgery… again my choice and the company was astonished to see me back so soon. They kept insisting that I should take more time off if I felt I needed it. I didn’t have chemo and perhaps if I had done I might not have been fit to work through rads.

I did get tired towards the end of my 6 weeks but I was just sensible about bedtimes and sometimes I had an hours nap when I came back from the hospital if I was really bushed. I think the job you do also plays a part in whether you are fit - I sit in an office all day so it’s not hard manual labour. Everyone is different and reacts to the treatment in their own way, physically and emotionally.

If you want to work then give it a go - but don’t try to be a hero and carry on if it proves too much.

Good luck with the rads.


I worked through rads, but I’m a part-timer so it was very distruptive especially as I had to work it around the school pick ups and drop offs. I generally went into work for 2 -3 hours and then to the hospital (luckily only 30mins drive) and then back to school. I did get tired towards the end and even after the treatment had finished but it was so much more manageable than chemotherapy.

take care Pauline

I worked throughout rads, sessions timetabled at the end of each day. I was tired but it was better than not working. I am another part-timer however, I work 60% teachers timetable so easier than f/t. It is really dowm to the individual.

I didn’t work through rads and went back 6 weeks after the end, I job share teaching 3 days a week in a Nursery class. I went back to doing the full day which I found too much, so reviewed it, and started at the beginning of the summer term on a phased return over 3 weeks. This has gone really well, I still try to have early nights as I get tired but this could be more to do with the 23 little people I work with than rads!
Everyone is different and reaction to treatment is and the jobs we do - so trust yourself and take it step by step and as lilacblushes says - don’t try to be a hero.
All the best with the rads
M x

Thanks for the comments. I either have to work completely or not as they can get someone in to cover and plan ahead. I can’t then decide I need time off if the going gets tough as it hoists more work on to others. My colleagues are appalled, not clapping, because I’m not at work!! Who spotted the mistake?
I will driving myself to hospital and back everyday.

Hi Jo
Again I say it is up to the individual. If you are paid in full when off then maybe then that is what you should do, especially if they cannot show any flaxability. Why are your work colleagues so unsupportive? You must do what you feel is best for you and your wellbeing, easier said than done I know.

Hi Aliceinwonderland,

My colleagues are wonderful and very protective of me. It’s just that I’m a lone worker in peoples houses that perhaps makes working difficult and I had just started to work full time to cover another’s maternity leave when I got diagnosed.

I got the spelling wrong on my first entry and spelt applaud instead of appalled! This was about the BCN suggesting that I work during rads and that it is pricking my conscience as I’m not ill, but find it very difficult not to cry at times, a real weeping willow that can be embarrassing!

Still GP says No work so I will go with what he says. It’s just the conscience, that’s all.


Hi Jo

Worked part time and drove myself through rads (my choice)and had end of day appt. Didn’t realise the cumulative effects and had the last week off sick. I’d had chemo before and continued to work through that with variable support and flexibilty. One member of staff totally unsupportive. i tried to step up the work i was doing after chemo and had to admit it was a mistake. Fortunately moved away from unsupportive member of staff before i went off sick.

If your pay isn’t affected and they can’t be flexible expecting you to work a full shift it may be better to take time off. Its your choice?

Have you been to occupational health? As cancer is a disability under the disability discrimination act your work should make reasonable adjustments and that should include time off for appointments. Have you got a sickness and abscence policy (that is also worth a read)

Love Crispy

Hi Jo

There is nothing more important than your health and how you are coping. You MUSTN’T be too hard on yourself. If you don’t have major financial concerns, take whatever time you need. You know that you work to the best of your ability when you have been at work and you will do so again when you are fully recovered.

take care


Don’t feel bad if you are not up to working during your rads. There are many factors to be taken in to account when making the decision and an important one being how flexible your work is with regards to going home early if you need to … clearly this is not possible in your case. I was lucky in that I could be late or leave early if I wished - I also was able to not do certain tasks at work or ask for help carrying files or whatever - again this is not an option for you if you work alone. Take the time off and put your efforts into your treatment and recovery … and don’t rush back to work too soon afterwards. Rads can be tough on a body and it needs time to recover.


I worked through rads because my pay would have stopped if I hadn’t gone back to work. I actually found it no problem after chemo, seemed a complete doddle. I had the day off when I had treatment and worked on the other days…work were very flexible which was good.

I suppose out of choice I wouldn’t have worked but found it no problem. Lucky because I had no choice being a single parent as in cash flow. Don’t be hard on yourseld and do what you can, there are no rules.

Good luck,

Sheana x

I worked through rads as I had an office based job and the hospital was ten mins walk away which madeit easier. I didn’t have chemo so didn’t have much time off at all. I did have a week’s sick leave when it was finished as I was tired and sore.

I had appointments towards the end of the day so I’d finish about 3.30 pm and then go to rads (only 15 sessions)

I preferred being in work to sitting at home moping but everyone is different


Hi Toffee
Just to add that it may not be a good time to be working if you are a lone worker and have to drive to people’s homes. For one,you don’t know what you are going to be faced with when you get there and you could be there at someones home much longer than you expected. This could make you late for your appointment or more tired than you should be. Also, there are many more cars on the road this time of year so your concentration needs to be tip top - not the easiest when you’re fatigued!
I was going to go back to work during rads(I also work in community) but was advised against it by the occ health. At the end of the day your body is trying to cope with a lot. Help it along.
Thinking of you.

Thanks greenpea. What a comfort to know that there are others out there like me. You sound so sensible just what I need to get this into some sort of prospective. Going into work tomorrow as invited to lunch so I will see them all there and I’m looking forward to it. Off to Cornwall Friday for a wk before rads planning. I know that I will have to go to occi health before I return to work. Thanks.

Am going through the same thoughts, though I am eligible for paid leave off and eventually with the help of Occ Heatlh they are being suportive. They are making me redundant at the same time, but have thankfully delayed giving me my notice til I am through treatment. With this work stress in mind, I have much less guilt over not going into work at present, though I have some work to do from home if I feel like it. I have four kids and really the treatment is taking its toll already, on week 3, even the mental stress.

If you can manage it, take as much as you can. We can hardly call this a luxury! Invest in yourself and your peace of mind…I think we all need it now. If I get a chance to have any spare time!!, I plan to do my garden or photo albums of the kids, 7 years behind! Nice to reflect on life I think right now in a postive way.


I work in a clinic and commute 2 hours each way. I stayed off work during rads and am still off three weeks later because of fatigue. My BCN also said she thought it would be fine for me to return to work. As much as I respect these nurses, I do think that unless they have experienced the tiredness that goes hand in hand with the treatment, they are not in a position to advise so generally. I was like you - my work wanted all or nothing. Couldnt just turn up and decide was too tired and go home after a couple of hours, so had to make a decision whether to go in properly or not at all. I decided not at all and my work supported this. Am so glad that I didnt. I have been so tired in the afternoons, I couldnt have coped. How many times in our life time are we going to get radiotherapy? Hopefully, only once so its not like we are skiving off or anything. Unless you really have a strong urge to do so, I would suggest that you wait and see. If you have to commit now, say no. You really need to let your body heal. Some of us take longer than others and there is no way of knowing in advance.


Visiting work was really good today and the team never mentioned when I was coming back. They were just glad that I looked OK! They promised to do lunch again. Shed some tears though by their acts of kindness, Vouchers for a really good massage, manicure or pedicure once all this is over.
I’ve decided to take the time off until all rads are finished. GP agrees also.
Thanks for all the comments.

I havent started my rads yet but on chemo Iam off work just now and dont know when I can go back (iam a delivery driver)
As I dont know from day to day how iam going to feel so not fair on my work if i arrange to go in then feel c+*p and cant go so Iam off for the forseeable future. My work has been marvelous about it all. Well done Somerfield


i am working during rads and am finding it quiet hard as very tired only got 4 more out of 25 so can’t wait until finished. if i had know how tired and emotional i would feel would have stayed of work. you need to take care of yourself during this good as the people you work with are i have found that once your back they don’t really understand how you are feeling, and why should they if they haven’t experienced this disease.