Lisa on work and cancer

Lisa was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2012. She was diagnosed by chance as she was accompanying her daughter for a smear test, but is now in remission. She found out about her rights at work from Macmillan, which helped her feel more equipped to speak to her employer at the time. Through Macmillan she also came into contact with women with the same cancer, and decided to help others to cope - which in turn helped her. 

Lisa on work and cancer

It was only by chance that I was diagnosed. My daughter was due to have her smear test and was really nervous, so for moral support, I booked mine in at the same time, even though it wasn’t due for a few more months. I’d had smear tests before so as soon as I left the doctors I forgot about it, until I had a letter from the hospital stating that my results showed some abnormality. I was referred to Warrington Hospital for tests and scans, following which the Liverpool Women's Hospital confirmed that I had cancer.

They decided to treat the cancer aggressively and I had a full hysterectomy. The oncologist confirmed that my cancer was at stage 2b so to be cautious this was followed by 3 rounds of radiotherapy. It was all a bit of a whirlwind but I am recovering well and back at work.

You are a changed person when you go back to work after cancer – you’ve lost a lot of confidence plus you are still dealing with the side effects of what you have been through. 

My cancer brought on other health conditions. I was expecting to slip back into how things were but I was totally side-lined and all the responsibilities I had before cancer were taken away when I returned to my work at the time. The way I was treated at my former employer knocked me for six. I felt suicidal and had to have counselling to get over it.

I went to Macmillan after my diagnosis. They were fantastic, giving me lots of advice and help, sending me the Essential Work and Cancer toolkit to give to my employer as my manager at the company I worked for during this time had never managed anyone with cancer. The support it so important. I found out from Macmillan about the Equality Act 2010 which protects people with a disability, including cancer, from being treated unfairly because of their disability. While I cannot change my former manager’s attitude towards my cancer I now feel stronger to tackle it. Macmillan made me realize I am able to grasp my life back.