Cancer and its treatment can affect your ability to work. Some people can carry on working, either full-time or part-time, during treatment, but you may find that you want or need to give up work.
When either you or your partner has been diagnosed with cancer, you may want to give up work in order to cope with the cancer and its treatment, or to look after your partner. If work has been the major focus of your life, it can be difficult for you and your partner to adjust to one of you not working. If you are both at home all day, it will take time to get used to being with each other all of the time.
You may find that you can’t continue working because of the cancer or the treatment. Or you may have to work shorter hours or different days. Cancer is covered by the Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales or the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland. This means that an employer can’t discriminate against anyone who has cancer or has had cancer in the past. Employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to workplaces to make sure people with a disability aren’t at a disadvantage to other people. If you’re caring for someone with cancer, you have the right to request flexible working.
A diagnosis of cancer can affect your finances and may cause money problems. This can put a strain on your relationship and can be hard to cope with, especially when you are already coping with the cancer and its effects. You may find that you need to carry on working as much as possible for financial reasons.
Many people can give you advice on your financial situation. Getting some advice early on may save you a lot of time and energy. You can speak to the social worker at the hospital, your local Jobcentre office and your local Citizens Advice. It may help to contact an independent financial adviser, as they can assess your individual situation and recommend the best course of action.