This section might help if you’re less mobile than you used to be.
For example, you may use a wheelchair, or have a prosthetic (false) limb as a result of your cancer treatment. It can be hard to adjust to any change like this, especially if it’s permanent. It’s important that you get support if you need it. It can help to talk to someone else in the same situation. Online forums and communities can be really good for this. Or you can ask your doctor or nurse to put you in touch with someone.
You can find people to chat to in our online community group for people aged 16-24.
You should be able to do most of the things you could before your treatment. There may be some things you can’t do now or that you find harder. You can still be independent, learn to drive, travel and go abroad if you want to. Things might just take a bit more planning than they did before.
The support you need at home will depend on your disability. It may be possible to get your house or flat adapted to make it easier for you to live in.
Some examples of changes that can be made include:
- wheelchair ramps
- ‘grab rails’ for the bath/shower
- lowered kitchen surfaces
If you live on your own, you might be entitled to some help at home. The level of help you get depends on what disabilities you have. To find out more you can have a look at Disability Rights UK.
It’s also important to remember that your family and friends probably want to help you, so it’s ok to let them. You’ll need to get a balance between living as independently as possible and accepting help when you need it.
Being able to drive is a great way to be independent. Even with a disability it’s more than likely that you’ll be able to learn to drive (or continue to drive if you already can). Cars can be adapted. You might be eligible for a car through the Motability scheme. You’ll have to be honest with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) about your change in circumstances. They might want to write to your doctor, with your permission.
If you’re a learner, many driving schools have cars that may suit your needs. If they don’t, it’s usually possible to learn to drive in your own car. You’ll need to make sure you have the right insurance. It’s also worth telling your test centre about your needs. That way, when you have your theory and practical tests, you’ll be sure they have the access you need.
You might also be able to get a blue badge to make it easier to park when you’re out and about. You can see if you are eligible for one and, if you are, you can apply for it online.
Your local Driving Assessment Centre might also be able to help with some of these issues.
It’s possible to travel at home and abroad despite your mobility changes. It’s the law for bus and coach companies in the UK to make their vehicles accessible to everyone. The government has also said that taxi and private hire vehicles have to be accessible to everyone. Most train stations now have step-free access and some London tube stations do too.
It’s still worth checking your route before you travel. You can also ask for help when you are travelling by train. A person from the rail company can be there to help with your bags or help you to get on and off the train. If you want more information about rail travel for disabled passengers, have a look at the National Rail Enquiries website.
If you enjoyed sport before your treatment you can still enjoy it now. You might have to adapt to doing the sports you enjoy slightly differently. Taking part in sport can be a good way of meeting people in a similar situation to you and it’s a great way to keep active. To find out more about disability sports in your area follow one of the links below:
Education and employment
Mobility changes shouldn’t stop you attending school, college, and university or doing the job you did before. If you’re still in education, it’s against the law for an education provider to discriminate against you. Discrimination means not providing access for someone to be able to get into the school or college building. The place where you are studying has to provide you with extra support and aids if you need them. Universities and colleges should have someone you can talk to about disability issues.
If you have a job and want to carry on doing it, by law, your employer has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for you. They have to make sure you’re not discriminated against because of your disability.
If you are applying for jobs, the employer can only ask limited questions about your disability. And these have to be relevant to the job you have applied for.
To find out more about your rights, you can look at the Equality Act 2010 or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centres Federation.
Reactions to mobility changes
It’s natural to wonder how your family and friends will react to your new situation. You might worry that they will leave you out of plans and think that it will be too much ‘hassle’ for you to get around. This will probably not be the case though. Let your friends and family know that you want to be included and that, more often than not, you’ll be able to join in. Coming to terms with your mobility changes can be very hard but over time most people adjust really well to their situation.
If you feel you need help though, it’s fine to ask your doctor to refer you for more support.