Changing the conversation about work and cancer

Managing Cancer and Work

Working With Cancer® helps employees, employers, the self-employed, job seekers and carers to manage cancer and work.
We coach, train and advise employers on how to successfully manage cancer in the workplace, and we coach and guide individuals affected by cancer on returning to work, remaining in work or finding employment at any stage during or after cancer treatment, including those living with advanced, secondary or terminal cancer. 

There are around 900,000 people of working age living with cancer in the UK. This number is expected to increase to 1,150,00 by 2030. For those affected by cancer, work is important. A job can restore a sense of normality and wellbeing as well contributing to financial independence, but many cancer survivors find returning to work a struggle as they deal with cancer’s short- or longer-term side effects.

A survey in 2012 showed that although over 80% of those who were working when diagnosed with cancer thought it important to continue working, 47% had to give up work or change their roles as a result of their diagnosis. Another survey in 2016 showed that 20% faced discrimination and 35% had negative experiences.

For working carers, things can be just as difficult. Few employers have a carers’ policy and many carers are hesitant to ask for time off work in case it affects their employment prospects.

Employers often find it tough too – knowing the right thing to say and when, and what to do. Getting it right can significantly enhance an employer’s reputation.