Endorsed by the European Oncology Nursing Society

Unable to work due to cancer?

Unable to work due to cancer? image

Some people find that they are unable to continue working during and/or after cancer treatment, for one or more of the following reasons:1

  • The treatment itself may cause a disability or have long-term side effects that make it difficult for you to work
  • You may no longer have the strength or stamina to perform a physically challenging job
  • You may have problems with memory, concentration, and making decisions

Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments if they know that an employee has cancer. These can include:2,3

  • Providing more flexible working hours
  • Providing extra breaks
  • Restructuring roles and responsibilities to remove tasks that cause problems

Despite this, it may not be possible to continue working. If this applies to you, it can be helpful to discuss this with your doctor, who can advise you on whether to take time off or not.3

For more specific advice on the benefits, grants, and financial advice services that are available in your country, see the article What financial support can I get?



  1. Cancer.net. Stopping work after cancer treatment. Accessed March 2016.
  2. Macmillan. Reasonable adjustments - our guide to making changes in the workplace. Accessed March 2016.
  3. American Cancer Society. Working during cancer treatment - will I be able to work while I’m getting treatment?. Accessed March 2016.