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:

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).

Here I am, three months back to work ….

Date posted: September 12, 2018

Back in April, our guest writer, Sara Liyanage, provided a detailed insight into her experiences of living with cancer and her journey back to work.   She is now three months back to work and shares her experience in a new blog:

Today marks a bit of a milestone for me. I’ve just got home from work. It’s the longest day that I’ve spent in the office since going back in May and it’s been a day of firsts: I used a peak time train ticket to get home; I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard and worked my way through the crossword (doing very badly because my brain is out of practice); came home on a busy train (instead of my usual empty one in the middle of the day) and walked up the hill among the other commuters to home instead of walking up the hill alone and feeling like I was being naughty by leaving the office in the middle of the day. And it kind of feels, for the first time, like the end of a normal pre-cancer working day. And that makes me very happy indeed.

Read the full blog here

(Sara is the founder of, a website dedicated to helping people through their breast cancer treatment from diagnosis to living life to the full once treatment ends).


Introducing our volunteer Mike Hindle – providing recruitment and Human Resources advice

Date posted: August 31, 2018

My name is Mike Hindle and I am writing this blog in association with Working With Cancer.  They are a social enterprise who support those affected by cancer. As I’m sure is the case for many of you, cancer is something that has affected my life drastically, and supporting those trying to cope with cancer is close to my heart.

That is the purpose of this blog: to share my experience of cancer, as well as providing recruitment and human resources advice for those of you who are affected by cancer – whether that be as a cancer survivor who wants to get back into the world of work, or a carer juggling their job as well as providing the best care they can to a close friend or family member.

Read the full blog here