Changing the conversation about work and cancer

The Psychological Impact of Cancer

Many of you will be familiar with the work of Dr Peter Harvey published on the Cancer Counselling Trust’s website in 2004 about the psychological impact of cancer. Just after he retired in 2007, Peter spent six months updating the work with the help of Dr Jane Clark who is now a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Lead for the psychology team into cancer services in a large NHS Trust in the north of England. During lockdown, with Dr Harvey’s approval, Jane refreshed the information and her revised series of articles is available here.

Following the publication of her revised articles Barbara interviewed Jane about how a cancer diagnosis affects people emotionally and about how a cancer diagnosis affects people emotionally and what advice she would give to families, friends and employers worried about how best to support them. She did this interview in her own time and was not representing the Trust.

The interview covers a variety of issues including why people experience a loss of confidence, and sometimes depression after a cancer diagnosis, why it’s so difficult ‘getting back to normal’ and how an employer should support a colleague struggling with the emotional impact of cancer.

You can watch the full video below or as shorter clips organised by the questions Jane covered with Barbara.

Full interview of Barbara Wilson interviewing Jane on 29/11/21



What led Jane to becoming a clinical psychologist with a focus on cancer

Jane discusses how a cancer diagnosis affects people emotionally and why

Jane and Barbara discuss the significance of a cancer diagnosis

Jane discusses her work with Dr Peter Harvey

Jane discusses why people often experience a significant loss of confidence, and what advice she would give.

Jane discusses why it is so difficult to ‘go back to normal’

Jane provides some advice for employers concerned about an employee’s emotional state

And advises them on what not to do

Jane discusses how work colleagues can reinforce an employer’s support

and finally……don’t be afraid to ask for help.