A lot of people are keen to “get back to normal” as soon as possible once cancer treatment is over. For many, this involves going back to work, sometimes after a very long period of time off.1
How soon and whether or not you return to work at all after cancer treatment is a very personal and individual decision. Do not feel pressured into going back before you feel ready.
A return to work will depend on the type of job that you did before treatment,2 and there are certain tasks that you may not be able to do again.1
Creating a back-to-work plan
Readjusting to a routine and learning to deal with the everyday stresses of the workplace can be challenging.1 Your employer should be supportive1 and not push you to do too much too soon once you return.
You and your employer should work together to create a “back-to-work plan”. For example, this may involve gradually building up the number of hours or days that you work each week.1
If you are unable to carry out all the duties that your job included before your treatment, your employer should make the necessary adjustments to help you get back to work.1
You may find that you get tired very easily,2 and it could be many months before your energy levels get back to what they used to be. Because of this, you may want to talk to your employer about the possibility of going part-time, by reducing your working hours or taking on a job share.2
What it means for you financially
It is also important for you to consider the financial implications of returning to work. For example, this may mean that you are no longer able to receive certain benefits.1
Any payments that were being paid by an insurance policy, such as mortgage or bank loan repayments, are also likely to stop when you return to work,1 so you should budget for this when weighing up your options.
It is important to talk with a financial or benefits adviser if you have any questions about your finances once you return to work.1Glossary