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Beating Bowel Cancer Community

Life with bowel cancer


Working through chemo

Hi everyone, just wondering if many of you wonderful people continued to work through chemo? I haven't been back to work since my diagnosis in May and my pay is due to end from my employer very soon. I am only just starting chemo next week so another 6 month before it's all over. Belts will have to be tightened ? :x::x:


Hi @Clairelou I didn't work during chemo and I think there's no real expectation for patients to do so but it's very much an individual thing. I'm sure there are many pros and cons. I guess it's difficult to know exactly how you'll feel when on treatment until you start? I guess it also depends on the type of work you do and assessing any particular risks around this e.g increased exposure to infection? Perhaps your work may be able to be more flexible with you and possible allow working from home if this is feasible? Good luck for the start of your chemo next week! ❤️????


Hi@Clairlou, i went off sick initially April 2016 to look after my husband, he passed away in the June and i was diagnosed in the July. I had chemo initially, and i with the agreement of my manager at work did not go into work. This is due to the fact that i would be immuno compromised and i wanted as few people as possible to know. So my 6 months at full pay ran out as did my 6 months half pay ran out in April this year. I do claim PIP and ESA with a view to taking retirement soon. Hope this helps.:x::x:


@Clairelou I know a couple of people who worked. One is a plumber and the other guy works in the office. Both have had BC for three years and soldier on. So it's not impossible - but depends on energy and emotions. They both had the day off the day after the chemo.
Yes it's hard but money is important
Hans :x::x::x:


Hi @Clairelou

I started CAPOX a week ago and have continued to work during diagnosis, my advice would be see if you can work for home, flexible or shorter hours, bite size chunks and see how you go. Good luck :x::x:


Hi @Clairelou
Like depends!
I hated my job, it was very tiring and busy, with people on an appointment system so very inflexible for rests etc and it was in a different town to my hospital or GP.
But my manager had sailed through chemo for breast cancer by coming in late, going off for tests, resting when she needed to and letting others pick up the slack.
If your job is suitable, you might well find that working on your 'good' week and staying at home on your 'bad' week is ideal as it gives you something to occupy your mind etc.
But assuming you have worked regularly for the past 2 years, a cancer diagnosis means you should be automatically eligible for ESA which is about £400 a month and for which your nurses can help fill in the form. I found it surprisingly easy to the relevant number, answer loads of straightforward questions and you get the form to complete.
(PIP is more complicated and needs a more dramatic diagnosis so probably not relevant to you)
Good luck :x:


I worked 1 week out of 3 for each cycle (my good week) It was enough to keep my mind active and feel more like myself. I then went back part time and full time once Id finished. I was lucky as got full PIP and sick pay. Can you apply for PIP or ESA??? they might help a little? :x::x::x::x:


It's just over 11 months since I had my diagnosis. I've had long course chemo radiation, a high anterior resection with ileostomy, then adjuvant chemo for 6 rounds. I also got dvt and had a pe. In total I've had 13 weeks off, and worked part time for 13 more. I could have stayed off longer because I have income protection, but 1) I love my job and 2) working stops me dwelling on C 24/7. I'm going in for my reversal tomorrow, so another couple of weeks off, then two weeks working from home.

And I'm 58 if that helps, so not a spring chicken ?


@Lizalou @fnkyf8 I'm going to try and apply for ESA thanks for the advice. I'm not sure I'll get this as I'm going to be getting SSP from my employer and don't think you can receive both? :x::x::x:


Hi @Clairelou
I think the ESA takes over when you are no longer getting work sick pay, and takes the place of SSP . Once I was on ESA it was valid for a year before being renewed, with no need for sick notes.


@Clairelou .I have been worried too about going to work , as I'm in an open plan office with 70 other staff . Had a chat with my chemo nurse and she suggested to get a doctor's note for the first 2 cycles and see how I do . Then renew it from then as necessary . She did point out about infection, and feeling sick or diarreha at work would not be very nice . As for ESA will you be getting SSP or Employer sick pay at 100% as that high affect it .All the best as I know it's an additional worry . :x::x:


hi @Meezermum my works in fact have made a mistake and have contacted me to say my pay doesn't end until end of October so one less thing to worry about and totally understand about risk of infection... we are far more important than work :) :x::x: