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Cancer and work

If you are diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult juggling work with appointments and treatments. Find out more about how we can support you during this time.

A cancer diagnosis can have a significant impact on your life. There are many decisions to be made about treatment and how to deal with possible changes in your life. Cancer and work information has been developed to provide practical information to assist you to continue working after a cancer diagnosis or return to work after an absence due to cancer and treatment. Information is provided for:

  • employees who have been diagnosed with cancer
  • employers of people who have been diagnosed with cancer
  • self-employed people who have been diagnosed with cancer
  • employees who work with someone who has been diagnosed with cancer
  • carers of people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer and work contains practical information to help with communication and assistance in the workplace including useful information to assist in starting conversations about modifying the work environment to allow continued work through treatment or in assisting a return to work after an absence.

The information on this website is general in nature and is not intended to replace advice from your Human Resources department, legal or financial advisor or your health care team.

Cancer and its treatment can affect many aspects of a person’s life. This information has been prepared to help you manage your working life after a cancer diagnosis.

The way that cancer affects your work and finances will depend on your individual situation. You may work on a part-time, full-time or casual basis, be self-employed, be looking for work, or work from home.

We hope this information helps you find a working arrangement that suits you. It contains information about how cancer can affect your ability to work, tips about working during treatment, things to consider when returning to work after a break, information for working carers, and an overview of your rights and entitlements.

This information was developed with help from a range of health, legal and human resource (HR) professionals, and people affected by cancer. 

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This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed November 2019 by the following expert content reviewers: Kerryann White, Manager, People and Culture, Cancer Council SA; Nicola Martin, Principal, McCabe Curwood, NSW; Jane Auchettl, Coordinator, Education and Training Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Alana Cochrane, Human Resources Business Partner, Greater Bank Newcastle, NSW; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, North West Regional Hospital, TAS; Dianne Head, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, NSW; Alex Kelly, Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Aon, NSW; Prof Bogda Koczwara AM, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Sharyn McGowan, Occupational Therapist, Bendigo Health, VIC; Jeanne Potts, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Michelle Smerdon, Legal and Financial Support Services Manager, Cancer Council NSW.

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