Prostate cancer and the side effects of treatment can have an impact on your daily life. Get the facts about work, money, daily life and travel. If you have any further questions, speak to our Specialist Nurses over the phone or chat to a nurse online.


If you're living with and after cancer then continuing to work or returning to work can be an important way of getting back to everyday life. But not everyone is able to continue working, and some may decide to work part-time or take early retirement.

You may need to take time off work for treatments. This includes time for travelling to hospital and, for some men, time to recover. Ask your doctor or nurse for advice on how much time you will need to take off.

Side effects of treatments could affect your working day. For example, having urinary problems, hot flushes or tiredness may mean you need to take extra breaks.

Your rights at work

If you have prostate cancer then the Equality Act covers you. The Equality Act is a law that protects anyone who has, or has had, a disability and cancer is classed as a disability under this law. Even if you no longer have cancer, you are still protected against discrimination.

If you live in Northern Ireland you have protection under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Under these laws your employer has a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' to where and how you work, to make sure that you get the same chances as the people you work with.

For example, a reasonable adjustment could be:

  • giving you time off to go to medical appointments
  • allowing extra breaks if you feel tired
  • changing your job description to remove tasks that cause problems
  • providing suitable toilet facilities.

You can find out more about your rights at work when you have cancer from Macmillan Cancer Support.

What else can help?

If your employer learns more about prostate cancer and its treatment, they might be more understanding.  If you don’t feel like talking about it, perhaps you could give them some of our publications to read.

Take a look at your company policies and employee handbook. Talk to your occupational health service for advice.

Go to your employer with suggestions about what would help you. For example, taking extra breaks, working from home, flexible hours, or changing your job role or duties for a while.

Know your legal rights. Find out more about the law and make sure your boss or company is aware of it. Contact your union if you are part of one. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also help.

If you are self-employed or if you’re looking for work, you can get more specific information from Macmillan Cancer Support or Disability Rights UK.


If you’re struggling with the financial costs of cancer, or your income has changed, you should be able to get some help.

Sick pay

If you've had time off work, find out if statutory sick pay, or occupational or company sick pay. Check your employment contract or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can get information from the official government website –


The benefits you are entitled to vary depending on whether you are working, how old you are and other factors. Find out more about benefits and how to apply for them.

Other costs

You might also be able to get help with the costs of travel to and from hospital, and some other medical costs.

If you live in England and are having treatment for cancer, including treatments for symptoms or side effects, you are entitled to free prescriptions. You’ll need to apply for a medical exemption certificate. Ask your doctor for a FP92A form. Once you have filled out the form, your doctor will need to sign it, and you will be sent the certificate. You can find out more about free prescriptions at NHS Choices. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, all prescriptions are free.

Getting help at home

Some men with prostate cancer may find everyday tasks more difficult. This could be because of side effects, pain, or because they find it harder to move about.

If you need extra help in the home, speak to your GP or ask your local council for advice.

You can ask social services to assess your needs – and the needs of your carer, if you have one.  They can work out what services can help, and provide information about support available in your area. Some services may be free. Or you may need to pay towards them.

You may be able to get help with:

  • equipment or adaptations to your home
  • help at home, for example with getting washed and dressed, cooking or tasks like housework or shopping
  • breaks away from home for you or anyone who is caring for you.

Driving and public transport

There are various schemes available to help with transport. These include the Blue Badge Scheme for parking, the Motability Scheme for help with buying or leasing a car, and cheap or free travel on public transport. Contact your local council for details.

Travel and travel insurance

If you're planning a holiday your cancer could affect things like where you go and how long you go away for. This shouldn't stop you from travelling but it may affect what you need to take with you and the sort of things you do while you're away.

Some of the things you might want to think about are listed below. You can also read our Travel timeline for tips on preparing for your trip.

Your treatment and the way you're feeling

  • If you need to have new vaccinations, check with your doctor that it's safe for you to have them.
  • Radiotherapy treatment may make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This might affect where you go and the things you do on holiday.
  • Chemotherapy can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to pick up infections. You may need to take extra care of your health on holiday.
  • If you've had brachytherapy you could set off airport radiation sensors. Ask your doctor for an advice card saying you've had treatment with internal radiation. Take this with you, especially when travelling by air.
  • Having cancer - and treatments such as surgery, hormone therapy and chemotherapy - may increase your risk of getting a blood clot, especially when flying. Speak to your doctor or nurse about this.

Travelling with your medication

  • Ask your doctor for a letter saying what your medicines are for.
  • Carry information about your condition, medicines and treatments in case you need to see a doctor while you're away.
  • Make sure you have enough medicine to last your entire trip - and some extra in case of emergencies.
  • Check if you need a special license to travel with your medicines.
  • Some airlines have special rules about transporting prescription medicines. Before you travel, check whether you need to make any special arrangements for transporting your medicine.
  • Check if you need to store your medicines in any special conditions, for example a cool bag or fridge?
  • Keep a list of the proper names (not just the brand names) and doses of your medicines in case you need to get more.

What to pack and other arrangements

  • If you have urinary problems and use pads, make sure you pack enough for your trip and a few extra in case of delays.
  • If you use a catheter, take a spare one and plenty of extra drainage bags or catheter valves with you.
  • If you're travelling to a non-English speaking country, it might be a good idea to have your medical documents translated.
  • If you need a wheelchair, access to a toilet or a special meal for your journey, ask your travel company to sort this out before you travel.

Getting healthcare abroad

  • Apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you don't already have one. This allows you to have medical treatment in most European countries for free, or at a lower cost.
  • The EHIC does not always cover the full cost of treatment and it does not cover everything.
  • Buy travel insurance that covers any problems you might have while you're away.

Tips for getting travel insurance

If you're travelling abroad, it's a good idea to buy travel insurance before your trip. Travel insurance covers the cost of things that go wrong while you're away. For example, you might lose your suitcase or have to cancel your holiday. It can also cover the cost of any medical treatment that isn't covered by the EHIC, so it's very very important to get travel insurance, even if you're staying in Europe.

  • Look up the cost of your travel insurance before booking your trip as the insurance for some destinations is more expensive than others.
  • Get quotes from high street companies as well as insurance brokers and specialist companies.
  • Make sure you know exactly what you're covered for, and what you're not covered for.
  • Macmillan Cancer Support provides a list of travel insurance companies and brokers that might be useful. This list is updated every six months but insurance companies change their policies often so you may want to look into other companies as well.

Read our online fact sheet: Travel and prostate cancer, for more information about planning a holiday and tips for sorting out travel insurance.

Read our Specialist Nurses’ tips on travelling with prostate cancer or other prostate problems.


Updated: September 2015 | Due for Review: September 2017


  • List of references  

    Practical matters

    • de Boer AGEM, Verbeek JHAM, Spelten ER, et al. Work ability and return-to-work in cancer patients. Br J Cancer 2008;98(8):1342–7
    • Your rights at work. 2013. Available from:
    • IN04 Your rights in Northern Ireland. 2014. Available from:

    Travel and travel insurance