Work and cancer

Cancer Council Team

Work and cancer

After a diagnosis of cancer you might be thinking, do I:

* continue working?

* take time off?

* return to work?

*retire from work?


Work is an important part of many people’s lives and most employed people diagnosed with cancer wonder how it will affect their ability to work. 


Many people fear that they will face discrimination if they tell their employer they have cancer. Others fear being dismissed because they need time off work for treatment or to care for a family member with cancer. While many employers and colleagues are caring and supportive, discrimination in the workplace can occur. Knowing your rights and responsibilities may help reassure you that you are being treated fairly.


Whether you are able to continue working during treatment for cancer or while caring for someone with cancer will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of your job, treatment side effects, the flexibility of your workplace, your leave entitlements and personal matters (such as your finances and how much support you have from family and friends). 


The Cancer, Work & You information booklet provides practical support and information regarding this issue.


Read cancer stories here:


Webinar: Work and Cancer - "How do I manage difficult conversations at work?" 


Useful organisations and resources


For more information: 

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Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.