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

Do your HR policies and processes support employees with cancer?

Date posted: February 8, 2018

Successfully managing an employee with cancer will become a far more common experience for line managers, and one of the most challenging.

Read this article, written by Barbara Wilson for the HR Zone, about the HR policies and processes employers should put in place to support employees with cancer and ensure that they make a successful return to work.

What is ‘Chemo brain’ – and how can you support an employee who is affected by it?

Date posted: December 7, 2017

Chemo brain refers to the cognitive changes that people with cancer may experience before, during and after cancer treatment. These changes may include having trouble with mental tasks related to attention span, thinking, and short-term memory. Many people describe this as a mental fog. The condition is common in cancer patients and survivors, and sometimes it continues for quite a while after treatment.

Chemo brain is quite a common condition, but of course that’s no consolation to people affected by it. In a busy work environment, even the simplest tasks can seem difficult to accomplish and get right. Making what seem to be silly, unforced, mistakes quickly undermines an employee’s confidence – and naturally, it can sometimes affect a manager’s confidence in their employee too. This in turn can affect how quickly and effectively your employee returns to work.

So, as an employer, how can you help an employee experiencing this condition?

Read the full article here

Written for Macmillan Cancer Support in December 2017

Economist Intelligence Unit report – breast cancer patients and survivors in the EU workforce

Date posted: November 3, 2017

WWC contributed to an Economist Intelligence Unit report on breast cancer patients and survivors in the EU workforce.

There is also a separate report on the situation in the UK.

Read the reports here


After Treatment Ends – 10 Things I Have Learned by Jo Larbie

Date posted: October 11, 2017

Jo Larbie was coached by WWC. Read about how Jo dealt with her cancer and what she had learned.

“Looking back, my ‘never, never, never, give up’ mind-set was key to my survival.  This was important because perseverance produces endurance and with endurance comes staying power which enabled me to keep going, even though I didn’t know if or how I was going to make it through.  Getting back to the business of living my life is sometimes just as challenging and here are 10 things that I have learned”.

Read the full article here

Returning to work after cancer: seven steps to success

Date posted: October 3, 2017

Going back to work, sometimes after many months with relatively little contact with your employer, can be a scary time. Some people’s diagnosis and/or physiology allows them to work during some – or even most – of their cancer treatment so returning to work is less of an issue. But for many, this simply isn’t the case.

So it’s important to formally plan an employee’s return to work a few weeks in advance of them coming back. What does this mean in practice?

Read the full article here

Written for Macmillan Cancer Support, in September 2017

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