Blogs and Articles

Blogs and articles written for various organisations about managing work and cancer. We have organised these according to whether you are: someone who has/has had cancer; an HR professional or a policy maker about managing cancer in the workplace; a line manager; a carer, colleague or supporter of someone with cancer. Choose from the options below:


You can also filter articles by adding a search term below:

Finding my new ‘normal’: A journey of self-discovery

Date posted: September 30, 2019

Guest writer and former WWC coachee, Fay Field, has written a blog for us about her journey of self-discovery following her cancer diagnosis and treatment.

‘I was thinking about what sort of things I would talk about in relation to the title of this piece, and like most things cancer-wise it’s incredibly subjective. I remember first seeing the term ‘finding my new normal’ when I was undergoing chemotherapy back in May 2018, and at the time I didn’t think it was even something I could contemplate ….’

Read the full blog here

 

 

 

Back to Work in post-treatment ‘Limbo’ – a blog from our new Ambassador, Stephen Bevan

Date posted:

Our new Ambassador, Stephen Bevan, shares his experience of returning to work following his cancer diagnosis and treatment.

‘It is now a year since my diagnosis of oesophageal cancer was confirmed. I’ve now emerged from 10 months of treatment and I am dipping my toe – tentatively – back into the world of work. I’ve learned a lot about the importance of work to people living with cancer and other serious illnesses, the lack of priority given to work by some clinicians, and the vital role played by employers and colleagues in supporting the ‘vocational rehabilitation’ journey. I’ll touch on each of these issues briefly in what follows and will go into more detail in subsequent blogs in the weeks and months to come.’

Read the full blog here

 

 

 

New article from guest writer, Harmer Parr: The Melvyn Files

Date posted: July 31, 2019

Guest Writer, Harmer Parr, showed how keeping a sense of humour helped him put cancer in its place in an earlier article for WWC.  In his latest blog, he provides an update on his immunotherapy treatment:

‘In October 2017 I was diagnosed with a cancer in my right shin bone. It had been hurting for a while, after I’d been out running, but I didn’t suspect that Melvyn the Melanoma was making an unexpected return …..

I was prescribed some cancer tablets with very long names that I shortened to Dab and Tram. Taken night and morning they certainly attacked the tumours very well at first. Then they got bored and began to attack my liver as well. What followed was my yellow period, when I could easily have blended in with the crowd at Carrow Road without a shirt. This was because a new character appeared called Billy Rubin …..’

Read the full blog here

(Harmer Parr is a former teacher and Ofsted inspector.  During his time at Ofsted, he held national responsibility for the development and quality assurance of school inspections, and for leading the work on assessing the impact of Ofsted on the education system).

Returning to work and making changes

Date posted: July 22, 2019

Guest writer, Sara Liyanage, is a part-time solicitor and the founder of www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com, a website dedicated to helping people through their breast cancer treatment.  She has written a third blog for us about her experiences of returning to work:

‘I thought it seemed rather fitting to start writing this third and final article in my series of ‘returning to work after cancer treatment’ whilst on the train to work. Every Wednesday I leave the house, walk ten minutes to the station and take a train into London. It’s very different taking the train once a week compared to the four times a week that I did before I had cancer. I used to work Mondays to Thursdays. I would leave the office early on three of those days so I could collect the children from their after-school club. My parents helped me out on Wednesdays so I could stay later in the office at least once a week. And I had Fridays off when I zoomed around catching up on everything that needed to be done. It was hectic. I may have been working part-time hours but I was constantly trying to prove my productivity by picking up my emails after work and on my day off. All whilst trying to be the best full-time mother I could be and running our family home. It was really busy and absolutely exhausting.

Then along came cancer ….’

Read the full article here

 

 

WWC partners with Teenage Cancer Trust to help young people manage work after cancer

Date posted:

WWC Associate, Sarah Dawson, shares her experience of training and coaching young cancer survivors to manage work and cancer:

 

‘A cancer diagnosis is devastating at any age, but for a young person it can cause a particular kind of anguish. How do you face conversations and situations most adults would struggle with, before you’ve even had any life experience of your own?

Even after treatment is over, teenagers and young adults report that getting on with life can be as difficult as the diagnosis itself. A new routine, a sense of isolation, and fears about the cancer returning can leave people feeling anxious, confused and angry about what cancer has taken from them. Facing work after treatment can be particularly daunting, which is why WWC has partnered with Teenage Cancer Trust to help’.

Read the full article here

 

Understanding the invisible by Lynne, a 45 year old working mum…..

Date posted: May 15, 2019

Lynne, a 45 year old working mum, has written a blog about living with the effects of  ‘secondary’ cancer.

“It’s not easy supporting a colleague who is working with cancer – we all recognise that – but for those of us with metastatic or ‘secondary’ cancer, it feels like we have an invisible illness which isn’t seen and others can’t always be aware of. In supporting your colleague to work and live with cancer, what you need to know is that every day and every week, cancer is a challenge whether you can see it or not.”

Read the full blog here

Five common misconceptions about Cancer at work

Date posted: April 29, 2019


Working With Cancer’s Founder and Director, Barbara Wilson, has contributed an article to The HR Director Magazine:

‘In the UK, there are currently 900,000 people of working age living with cancer, and the impressive increase in survival rates (in the UK cancer survival for 10 or more years has doubled from 24% to 50%)  means that it’s becoming more likely that employers will have staff members facing a cancer diagnosis, undergoing treatment, and returning to work following treatment.  

With that in mind, it’s essential that HR directors understand how to help employees facing cancer. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because the consequences of getting it wrong can have significant financial and legal consequences.’

Read the full article here

Changing the Conversation around Work and Cancer

Date posted: April 11, 2019

Our Ambassador, Liz O’Riordan, has written a blog about her experience of returning to work after her cancer diagnosis.

‘ I spent most of my working life treating patients with cancer, but until I was diagnosed with cancer myself, I had no idea what a huge impact cancer would have on my own working life.  I knew returning to work would be hard, but I didn’t realise how hard it would be. I don’t think my employers knew, either …..’

Read the full story here

When more sleep won’t do it: Tackling cancer-related fatigue

Date posted: January 10, 2019

Fatigue – one of the most common side effects of cancer – can have a devastating physical and psychological impact on the lives of cancer survivors. It can also cause an individual severe financial problems if they are unable to return to full-time or part-time work.

Here are some excerpts from a longer article published in Cancerworld (no. 84, Winter 2018/2019) which discusses the benefits of exercise in helping to alleviate fatigue.

How I Managed My Work and Cancer: A Personal Perspective

Date posted: January 7, 2019

Esther To shares her personal experiences of returning to work during her cancer treatment.

‘I was 35 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  At the time, I was still building on my HR career.  I was gaining more exposure and experience which I felt I needed to be able to step up.  I couldn’t be knocked down with an illness.

So, it took a while before I got my lump checked out.  I knew it was there for some time but I thought it was another benign cyst.  I had been checked out twice before and diagnosed with fibroadenomas so I didn’t think this was anything serious.  Maybe I was really busy at work; maybe I was too engrossed in gaining as much experience as possible in my new job that I didn’t make a doctor’s appointment for ages.  The doctor referred me to the hospital and I remember that when I got a call from the hospital with an appointment within two weeks, I said I wasn’t available and was there any other time!  I had important work commitments I didn’t want to miss.’

Read the full article here

(Esther To helps support cancer survivors with work and career-related issues by sharing her own personal experiences.  Esther is an experienced HR professional where her experience has involved supporting and coaching managers with health-related issues at work.  Esther currently works for the NHS in an HR capacity, giving something back in return for the great support she received from the NHS during her difficult times.)