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Work - your rights - working through treatment

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Work - your rights - working through treatment

Hi Rachel Stewart,


I have had my operation and am now on 6 x FEC chemotherapy with 15 x Radiotherapy treatments to follow.

Well done on your new job - what size of company is it and what do you do?


Sue xx


Re: Work - your rights - working through treatment

Hi Sue, having newly joined a company and started treatment today reading this with interest. What treatment are you on? 

Sue H-S
Community Champion

Re: Work - your rights - working through treatment

Do you have to tell your employer?

No, you do not have to - however you might need to, as if you are working through your treament  - you may not be able to work as much or as efficiently as you would usually. And some may have more side effects, than I have, so it may become a slightly different story.

We are - as of the day of diagnosis covered by the Equality Act 2010 - and will be covered forever by this act.

Here is one of the most important excerpt - which apply to us


Employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to workplaces and working practices to ensure that people with a disability are not at a disadvantage compared to others. There is no fixed definition of ‘reasonable’. What is reasonable will depend on all the circumstances, including practicality, cost, and the extent to which business may be disrupted. Any planned adjustments should be discussed with, and approved by, the employee concerned. Reasonable adjustments for someone with cancer might include

• letting them take time off to attend medical appointments

• modifying a job description to remove tasks that cause particular difficulty – either on a temporary or permanent basis

• being flexible around working hours, or offering the option to work from home

• allowing extra breaks to help them cope with fatigue

• adjusting performance targets to take into account the effect of sick leave/fatigue etc on the employee, or giving them a post with more suitable duties

• moving a work station, for example to avoid stairs

• ensuring easy access to premises for someone who is using a wheelchair or crutches

• providing disabled toilet facilities

• allowing a gradual, phased return to work after extended sick leave

• changing the date or time of a job interview if it coincides with a medical appointment.



Here is a link to some information on this site - which may also answer some initial questions.



Managing to work fully through chemo cycle 1and 2, although from home days 4-8 worked well, but then decided I would need to tell my employer what was going on. The cumulative effect of fatigue/tiredness would make my ability to fully work unpredictable, as well as that I would not be able to do some of my customer visits, etc. during days 4-10 of the cycle, due to the compromised immune system. I am now post cycle 3 - and I do now have to take the week post treatment off.

TIP - negotiate with your treatment team - whether you may be able to have your chemo treatment on a Thursday afternoon. Of course, if you are already in treament, this may no longer be possible.

For those facing it - I managed to negotiate it, as I had thought about the way a cycle affects our body and how we can function. It is probably one of the best things I did - to stay working, as much as I do. I'll explain - 

Thursday - chemo appointment at 14.00 - work in the morning - then 1/2 off for treatment

Friday - fully working, as on steroids

Saturday/Sunday - on steroids - rest and preparation for the week ahead

Monday to Friday - working from home and/or on sick leave

Saturday/Sunday - rest and preparation for the following week.

This gives me 9 days, which also covers my 'immune system compromised' period, in which I can rest.

Then on the Monday fully back at work until my next cycle begins. 


Sue xxx





Sue H-S
Community Champion

Work - your rights - working through treatment

Hi all

Having been diagnosed in January 2016 and starting a new job in February 2016 - working through treatment was one of my major challenges. And it is a stress, which we could all really do without.  

Unfortunately there is still relatively little knowledge, especially with smaller employers, as to our rights and how treatment affects us.   

Hoping that sharing my newly gained knowledge and the way I am dealing with it - may give you some pointers and also take some of this stress away from you.

It would be so great, if you could also share your thoughts and experiences - so that we can make it easier for those of us, who really have to work through all of this. 

This thread may initially look a little bit like a blog - until you start to post your individual experiences and how you dealt with them - or post questions you may have to which we can respond.

Hoping though it will be a good resource and support for those of us, who have to struggle with this issue.

Sue x