It may be difficult to decide whether or not to work during your treatment. It depends on your individual circumstances. One of the most important things to think about is how your treatment is likely to affect you.
Some people keep working during treatment, either full-time or part-time. Some people need to carry on working as much as possible for financial reasons.
You may find that working during your treatment gives you a sense of normality and helps you focus on something other than the cancer. It may depend on the type of work you do, and whether you have anyone else who can help out for a while.
Questions to ask yourself
When you are thinking about working while having treatment, ask yourself some questions:
- Will I need to cut back on my business temporarily?
- Will I need to run my business in a different way, to allow time for rest as well as my treatment?
- Who will be able to help me in practical ways?
- Can I pay someone else to run my business and still make a profit from it?
- Will I need extra financial help to get me and my family through this time and, if so, where can I get it?
- Will it be safe for me and for others if I carry on working during treatment?
- Have I spoken to my insurers to check if I am still covered?
It may help to talk these questions over with someone who knows you well and understands the work you do. Then you can plan the best course of action. It is a good idea to discuss your business decisions with another person, especially if you are feeling unwell, tired or upset.
Writing down the decisions you need to make
Try writing down the decisions you need to make and decide who can help you with these. For example:
- Decision I need to make: Should I work during treatment?
- Who can help me make them: My cancer nurse can tell me more about how the treatment might affect me.
It is impossible to predict how you will react to treatment until you start. This uncertainty makes it hard to plan ahead and decide how much work to take on. It may help to let your work mates or important customers know you may need to change your work plans at short notice.
While you do not know exactly what will happen, you can think about what you could do if different situations come up. It might be helpful to write down what might happen, your options if this happens and your plan. For example:
- What might happen: Once my treatment is finished, I may start to recover and feel able to work more again.
- My options if this happens: I could go straight back to my full working hours, and see how I cope; or, I could increase my working hours over several weeks, to get back to normal gradually. But I would need to be prepared to have less income than if I worked full hours.
- My plan: I will gradually increase my working hours to make sure I give myself time to recover. I will call Macmillan’s financial specialists on 0808 808 00 00 to find out if I can get any extra financial help during this time.