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Going to work during chemotherapy

Community Champion

Re: Going to work during chemotherapy

Hi ladies , I’m very pleased for those of you able to continue to work throughout treatment, but as someone who had four doses of FEC and four hospital admissions I think we need to proceed cautiously with advice here.  Being able to work and be part of  normalcy must be wonderful, and I certainly wish I had been able to. I think taking precautions is eminently sensible, and sanitisers are a useful handbag addition. I would say not to feel guilty if you are unable to work as your health is far more important. For those people with lymph node excision, then the risks of contracting infections increases, and then radiotherapy also kills lymph glands, which means the risk increases again. So, go for it ladies , if you can, and if you can’t, then stay safe. X


Re: Going to work during chemotherapy

I'll put my two cents' worth in. I am on 6 doses of FEC. I am a teacher and HoD (But I teach predominantly 1:1 or small group from age 7 up). I took off the first week and worked weeks 2 and 3 of each cycle so far. I'm now on summer holidays so the final cycle will be at home anyway, which is good as I am pretty tired. Actually it's my sore and watery eyes that are affecting me most. 


I managed to work by avoiding crowds - my employer was happy for me to avoid assemblies etc. My oncologist was super supportive. He gave me the GSF (?) injections to boost my immunity. I had a little bottle of hand sanitiser pretty much with me at all times and I tried to avoid shaking hands with parents and other visitors. 


It is entirely possible to work (at work) through chemo if your employer is supportive and you take sensible precautions.


Good luck!



Re: Going to work during chemotherapy

Thank you this has really helped. 

I’m wanting to go back to work but work in the community, however my employer has agreed I can work from home doing admin. 

Im having 3 weekly cycles of FEC followed by by 3 sessions 3 weekly of T and the first week was awful but I felt fine the 2nd and 3rd week. 


My 2nd cycle is on Thursday so fingers crossed I’ll be the same this time xx 




Re: Going to work during chemotherapy



This is an old thread now, but just to add my experience


My oncologist was keen to sign me off throughout chemo but I asked him not to as I wanted to work.  Partly because I'd already used up all my sick pay 🙂  But also because I knew it would help the time pass quicker.


I was on 3 week cycles (3xFEC and 3xT), I didn't work in week 1 of each cycle as I felt rough.  Then I worked from home in week 2 as that's the low immunity week and I didn't want to be commuting or around lots of people at the office.  And then in week 3 I did alternate days in the office and working from home (it was too tiring to travel to the office every day).


The days in the office were definitely my favourite, as they went by in a flash, and it just felt like a little oasis of normality.  I totally forgot I was even ill at all on those days 🙂


I'm now in the middle of 4 weeks of daily radiotherapy, and am receiving treatment in the mornings and working from home in the afternoons.  That's a bit tricky as I still seem to end up working a full day and not finishing till 8 at night or later, exhausted.  But that's my own fault, nobody is making me do it.


Hope everyone else who is working through treatment is coping well


Re: Going to work during chemotherapy

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. 



Re: Going to work during chemotherapy


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


Re: Going to work during chemotherapy

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.


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