Blogs and Articles

Blogs and articles written for other organisations as well as for this website. You can filter the articles using the options below

Woman & Home Magazine – an interview with Barbara Wilson

Date posted: August 9, 2017

An interview with Barbara Wilson appears in the September issue of Woman & Home magazine.  Barbara talks about what inspired her to set up Working with Cancer, and the support she received from the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE).

Read the full article here

Life after Cancer

Date posted: July 17, 2017

This powerful blog by Chloe Fox, posted in the Sunday Times on 9th July, describes how a cancer diagnosis gets all of us to ask some fundamental questions of ourselves. “Cancer locks you inside your own body and out of your own life….It forces you to ask yourself the one question that only you can answer: who on earth am I?” Read more below and please contact us if you would like to find out more about our coaching services which will help you find your way forward during and after cancer treatment.

Read the full article here  (NB: For non-subscribers, registration is required (name & email only)

After returning to work: Keep talking and adjusting if necessary

Date posted: July 10, 2017

In our final stage of the return to work we look at the ongoing weeks and months after the initial return.

Last but not least, be aware that it often takes months to fully recover from treatment – emotionally and physically.  Arguably this is the most difficult stage of all four because you should be elated but you are likely to feel worried, uncertain and scared about the cancer returning – after all, in many cases you didn’t feel ill when the cancer was diagnosed, so how do you know that it’s not still hiding somewhere inside you? And suddenly you have to be a fully functioning, rational human being!

Download the full article here

Written by Barbara Wilson, Founder, Working With Cancer

When a colleague has cancer it can impact the whole team. Here are some ways to support them throughout the process

Date posted: July 7, 2017

Finding out a colleague has cancer, particularly if you work very closely with them, can be a big shock. Often they are our friends as well as colleagues and the organisation’s focus is very much on supporting the affected employee. This is as it should be, but the impact on the wider team shouldn’t be underestimated. Team members are likely to experience a range of different emotions, which may depend on the stage of their colleague’s cancer treatment and how closely they work with them.  These include sadness, concern, anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion.

Download the full article here

Written by Maggie Newton, Working with Cancer Associate


One story of working through cancer treatment

Date posted:

First there’s the shock and the disbelief. Then there’s the realisation that life goes on, that there are decisions – big decisions – to be made about how you are going to live it.

When I got my breast cancer diagnosis in May 2012 I was in the middle of a big fundraising project for the large international charity that I ran. I decided to go ahead with a planned trip to Philadelphia and surgery was scheduled for the week that I returned to London. The operation was a lumpectomy and, thankfully, no further surgery would be required. But I was looking at months of  chemotherapy and  radiotherapy, followed by  another year of Herceptin  treatment.

I did not know it then but that decision to continue with my fundraising commitment set the tone for how I would balance my commitment to work with my need to take care of myself and my family in the coming months.

Download the full article here

Written by Mary McPhail, an Associate of Working With Cancer

Before returning to work: Plan for a gradual return but be flexible

Date posted: June 30, 2017

In our third instalment of the cancer journey we are looking at how you prepare to return to work after treatment.

You may really want to go back to work – most of us do – but the thought of how you will manage this, especially if you have a physically or emotionally demanding job can be quite stressful and debilitating. It’s at this stage too that the reality of what you have been through hits home, that you realise you will soon be leaving the protective bubble the doctors have built around you.

Download the full article here

Written by Barbara Wilson, Founder, Working with Cancer



The importance of good communication when supporting an employee with cancer

Date posted: June 28, 2017

Talking about cancer in the workplace isn’t always easy. It can be frightening, awkward to discuss, and very personal. Some people find it easy to talk about their cancer but others are more private. Factors like gender, age or cultural differences can also make a conversation more difficult. For example, some men may not want to talk about their testicular cancer to a female boss or HR colleague. Or some women may find it awkward discussing the fitting of a breast implant or coping with hot flushes with a male colleague or manager. Cancer treatment is often difficult and the side effects can be exhausting, unpredictable, and long lasting.

Read the full article here

Written for Macmillan Cancer Support, in June 2017



The typical ‘journey’ back to work – how it works – Stage 2

Date posted: June 23, 2017


Last week we looked at how to manage work when you’ve had your cancer diagnosis confirmed. This week we’re going to look at how to manage work when you’re in active treatment.

Download the full article here

Written by Barbara Wilson, Founder, Working With Cancer

The typical ‘journey’ back to work – how it works

Date posted: June 16, 2017

I really hate that word ‘journey’ when people talk about cancer. When I say it, I do that curled fingers in the air quote mark sign that tries to make it clear it is a cliché which I don’t really want to use but must because the English language doesn’t appear to offer a better alternative.

So, with apologies, I think there are two ‘journeys’ that we make, in managing work and cancer: the one we make physically and the one we make in our head, and it’s important that we understand both because they interact with and affect each other significantly.

Although there are over 200 cancers and many forms of treatment for each form of cancer, many of us go through a four-stage ‘journey’ where we are confronted by similar challenges connected with our work. In my experience, a major factor in successfully managing these challenges is to have a formal conversation at each of these stages with your line manager and HR: at the point of diagnosis, during active treatment, just before returning to work and in the first 12 months (at least) after returning to work.

Over the next four weeks we’ll be addressing each of the stages in turn. Focusing on the challenges that you may face and how your employer can support you.

Download the full article here

Written by Barbara Wilson, Founder, Working With Cancer

4 Thinking Traps Around Cancer At Work

Date posted: June 9, 2017

Fence with barb wire

In the work I do supporting those dealing with cancer in the workplace, how people communicate with those affected is a challenge that raises its head time and again.

Of course as a line manager there are formal discussions that need to take place, but amongst and around that, it is often those more informal, ‘on the hoof’ conversations that cause the most challenges for people.

Colleagues sometimes struggle so much to say the right thing they choose to say…

Download full article here PDF

Written for Working with Cancer by Debbie Palmer – June 2017