Self-employment and cancer
Worries about money and work are very common for people affected by cancer. But they may seem especially tough if you are self-employed or run your own business.
As well as concerns about your health and personal life, you may be wondering if you will be able to carry on working and how you will pay your bills.
You may be concerned that you’ll have to start your business all over again when you have recovered from treatment, or have to close your business.
You and your family may depend on the income from the business. This can add extra pressure as you might find it hard to see how to keep enough money coming in.
About four million people in the UK are self-employed and more than 100,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer each year. If you plan to carry on working, there’s a lot of support available to help you. This includes financial and emotional support, as well as information.
The government, business organisations and voluntary groups offer a variety of services to support small businesses, and many of these services are free. You may also be eligible for certain state benefits to support your finances.
You might find it helpful to see our information and videos about financial issues and the benefits that you might be entitled to.
It can feel as though there’s less support available to you as a self-employed person. You might not have a group of colleagues to fall back on or a sick leave policy that pays
you while you’re having treatment. But being self-employed may mean that you have more scope for flexible working.
It may be easier for you to change the direction of your work or work in a new way that suits you better.
This section provides practical information about:
It also tells you where you can find more information, expert advice and support.
If you’d like to discuss any of the information in this booklet, you can call our cancer support specialists. They can give you information on managing your personal finances and claiming benefits, and answer any questions you may have about cancer.
If you are a carer
If you’re caring for someone with cancer, it will have a big impact on your life too. If you’re self-employed, your work may be flexible, but you may also face some of the problems described in this section.
We have a lot of information for carers, including a section on Working while caring for someone with cancer. It’s aimed at employees, but includes information that could also be useful for carers who are self-employed. You may also like to read our booklet Hello, and how are you? [PDF, 914kb] It’s written for carers, by carers.
At Macmillan, we talk to carers every day. Contact us - we are here to listen and provide the information and support you need.