Juan on work and cancer

A photo of Juan. He is sitting on a sofa and wearing a red jumper.
A photo of Juan. He is sitting on a sofa and wearing a red jumper.

Juan, a Business Development Manager, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014.

His diagnosis came soon after he started a new job, so he was worried about telling his employer. Find out how he handled the situation.

Juan's story

I was not looking forward to telling my employer about my cancer diagnosis, but I had no choice. I spoke to our CEO directly and as we are a small company it was easy to communicate with the people that make the business decisions. 

I could not work as my chemo was too strong. I also had to have a huge operation and I needed a lot of recovery so I stayed at home and rested. The company was supportive throughout the over four months I had off, despite only being with them for three months beforehand. This was so important to me and my family, as without that support I am not sure I could have fully concentrated on the battle.

I also shared my diagnosis with my colleagues. I wanted everyone in the company to know that I would be off work because of the diagnosis. Through all of this I had support from all of my colleagues. 

I think any help, like the Finding the Words resource, is useful. I think it’s a very personal thing but has to be handled in the right manner. For others going through cancer, I would advise to keep your employer up to date with what’s happening so they can make plans in your absence. 

Cancer is something nobody wants to go through. That person is going through the most traumatic time of their lives both mentally and physically and as an employer you must do everything you can to support that person through it. When that person makes a recovery you will have an unstoppable asset because believe me, by you showing them loyalty through their toughest time will make them want to do everything to give back when they are well.  

Get the support you need

Juan had a very supportive employer. Unfortunately, not all employers understand the duties placed on them by the Equality Act. Under the Act, anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis is considered to be disabled in relation to employment. This means that employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments, which can include measures such as altering workloads, tasks and hours of work. 

If you are struggling at work, then speaking to your employer about the reasonable adjustments you need should be your first step. If your employer doesn’t act on this, please seek further advice. Find out more about your rights at work.