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 men 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 in some cases time to recover. See our surgery page for information about time off after surgery. 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 2010 covers you. The Equality Act is a law that protects anyone who has, or has had, a disability - 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.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments include:
- allowing you time off to attend medical appointments
- allowing extra breaks
- temporarily allowing you to have lighter duties
- providing adequate toilet facilities.
You can find out more about the law and working during and after cancer treatment from Macmillan Cancer Support.
What else can help?
Let your employer know more about prostate cancer and how its impacts on you. If you do not feel like talking about it then you could give them some of our publications to read.
Take a look at your company policies and employee handbook if you have them. Talk to your occupational health service for advice if your company has one.
Go to your employer with suggestions about what would help you. For example: taking extra breaks, working from home, flexible hours, 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. You could also contact your union if you are part of one.