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:

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 www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com, 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

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