Managing work if you have fatigue

You may find that you can’t continue working due to your fatigue, or that you have to reduce the amount of time you spend at work. It can help to talk to your employer or personnel/human resources (HR) department and let them know that you may need some time off.

If you carry on working, you may be able to find ways of making your work less tiring for a while.

Anyone with cancer is protected by the Equality Act 2010, which prevents employers from victimising or discriminating against people with a disability. The act also states that employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments to support employees in the workplace. You may want to make suggestions for adjustments that could help to support you.

Things that your employer can do to help include:

  • changing your hours so that you can travel to and from work at less busy times (outside the rush hour)
  • asking colleagues to be supportive and to help with some of your work
  • finding you a parking place near to your place of work
  • letting you take short breaks to lie down and rest
  • allowing you to work from home (if this is possible)
  • finding you lighter work if your job involves physical exertion or heavy lifting.

If you’re self-employed, it can help to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about benefits that you may be entitled to claim.

Our sections about work and cancer and self-employment and cancer have more detailed information and useful tips for coping with fatigue at work.

Back to Tiredness (fatigue)

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is feeling very tired most, or all, of the time. It is a very common problem for people with cancer.

What causes fatigue?

The cause of cancer-related-fatigue (CRF) is not fully understood. There are thought to be many reasons for it.

Tips for better rest

Good-quality sleep is very important when you are tired. There are things you can do to help improve the quality of your sleep.

Psychological effects

The emotional effects of cancer, such as anxiety or depression, can contribute to fatigue.