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.
Your rights at work
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, the Equality Act protects your rights in different areas of life, including at work. 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 the Equality Act and Disability Discrimination Act your employer has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to where and how you work, to make sure 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 during and after cancer treatment 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 can also help.