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:

Cancer and its impact on our mental wellbeing

Date posted: October 29, 2018

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

Work, Cancer and Caring: What to do?

Date posted: July 23, 2018

A diagnosis of cancer has a profound impact on the person diagnosed and it also affects their family, friends and colleagues. The emotional and psychological toll on the person diagnosed is well documented but we want to draw attention to the impact of a cancer diagnosis on the person who is a carer and who is working.

Mary McPhail discusses here  the impact of caring and provides a few key messages.

Lieve Wierinck MEP discusses ‘Transforming Breast Cancer Together’ with Barbara Wilson

Date posted:

Lieve Wierinck MEP is leading an exciting new initiative in which we are delighted to be participating with the aim of transforming breast cancer care in the EU.  This interview with Lieve is part of the ‘String of Pearls’, a series of initiatives aimed at improving services for women in Europe with breast cancer and advanced breast cancer. The MEPS and organisations working on this issued a ‘Call for Change’ in May this year.

You can read more about Lieve and about the initiative here

Barbara Wilson interview in HRD Connect – Working with Cancer

Date posted: July 19, 2018

Barbara Wilson was recently interviewed by HRD Connect, a publication for Senior HR leaders, about her experience of a cancer diagnosis in the workplac​e.  She also​ provides useful ​and important ​advice for employers and employees on how to support a ​colleague returning to work ​after a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Read the full interview here

The countdown to my return to work

Date posted: April 19, 2018

Guest writer, Sara Liyanage, provides a detailed insight into her experiences of living with cancer and her journey back to work:

‘I am going back to work. It will be one day off eighteen months since I was last in the office. I clearly remember the parting conversation with a couple of colleagues about how I was off to see the breast consultant for my biopsy results that evening. I hadn’t been worried about the biopsy, after all I was only 42 and I ticked all the boxes for minimising any risk of developing cancer. Plus, nothing had shown up on the mammogram that was taken the previous week: the biopsy was of a tiny little lump in my left armpit. But, as I was preparing to leave the office, I began to feel a bit apprehensive: a feeling with which I am now more than familiar because I did (albeit unexpectedly) receive a cancer diagnosis that evening and over the past eighteen months a general feeling of apprehension has hung over me as I have been scanned, tested, prodded, poked and treated for breast cancer’.

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).


Rights at work for employees with cancer: a guide to what you need to know

Date posted: April 9, 2018

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees with cancer from being treated unfairly at work. This piece of legislation applies in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland those with cancer are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). If you have cancer, the law considers you to be disabled and this legal protection applies even if you no longer need treatment or you move to another employer. Employment legislation also protects job applicants and people who are self-employed.

Too often line managers, and in some cases even HR professionals, are unfamiliar with the legislation protecting employees affected by cancer from discrimination in the workplace. How does this manifest itself? A 2016 survey commissioned by Macmillan reported that 35% of employees surveyed reported negative experiences at work and 18% reported discrimination. It is clear that some employers still have a long way to go, not only in making themselves familiar with the legislation but also in acting within the letter and the spirit of the law.

Read the full article here

Written for Macmillan Cancer Support in April 2018