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:

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.)


Managing cancer, life and work: Lisa’s experience – a case study for the ABC Global Alliance

Date posted: November 26, 2018

Former WWC coachee, Lisa Mann, talks about her experiences of returning to work during her cancer treatment; this case study was discussed at the ABC Global Alliance EU Parliament event ‘Transforming Breast Cancer Together’ on 7 November 2018.

Read the full article here

Late consequences of cancer: what are your experiences?

Date posted: October 29, 2018

The Dutch Federation of cancer patients (the NFK , Nederlandse Federatie van Kankerpatiëntenorganisaties) asked this question in October 2017 to 3679 (former) cancer patients.

What are late consequences?

By ‘late consequences’ we mean long-term changes that they experience on a psychological, physical, cognitive level that are limiting your daily functioning.  You can think of, for example: fatigue, concentration problems, sexual problems, fear of cancer recurrence, depression, not being able to perform your work properly, neuropathy or cardiovascular diseases. Sometimes it is not certain whether certain complaints are a result of (the treatment of) cancer or something else (for example, getting older).

Read the full article here

Cancer and its impact on our mental wellbeing

Date posted:

One of the things those of us who have had cancer tend not to discuss with friends, family and especially with our employers is that the emotional and psychological impact of cancer is often as great if not greater than the physical consequences of treatment.

We grieve for a life we have lost, we remain fearful of recurrence not just for months or years but often for the rest of our lives, we lose confidence in our bodies given that in many cases we didn’t feel ill when we were first diagnosed.

Read the full article here

Using social media to help with your job search

Date posted:

Recruitment has changed dramatically over the past few years and establishing and maintaining relationships across social media is key when job hunting. LinkedIn recently posted a statistic quoting that as many as 80% of roles are now recruited through networking and social media plays a key role within this, with 87% of recruiters using LinkedIn and 55% of recruiters also using Facebook. Having an up to date online profile is therefore hugely important in today`s marketplace.

To find out more about how social media can help with your job search, read the full article here.



How humour can help put cancer in its place. One person’s antidote

Date posted: October 12, 2018

Guest writer, Harmer Parr, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October 2017.  In this blog, he shows how keeping a sense of humour helped him put cancer in its place.

‘I’ve always been a bit of a fitness freak, and during the spring and summer 2017 I was training for a couple of sprint triathlons I was planning to do in early autumn. Sometime in February I came home from a run and my leg started to ache. I laid off the running for a week and tried again. Same result. The leg would ache for a few days and then appear to be ready for action. It soon proved it wasn’t ….

…..  In the next few weeks I had several scans, an alphabet soup of MRI, CT, PET etc. Finally came the meeting with the consultant. He didn’t quite put on a black hat, but he did have a serious-looking nurse with him. It wasn’t good news. Melvyn the Melanoma had returned, and, typical of the sneaky little devil, had returned where I least expected him. He’d done that last time as well. His latest incarnation was as a bone cancer, and for good measure he’d sprinkled some fairy dust into my liver as well. Basically, I think he’d got fed up with messing around.’

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).