Work & Cancer


What happens with your work when you receive a cancer diagnosis? Hello and welcome to talking cancer. A podcast from Milan where I'll be meeting real people to have honest conversations about living with cancer in this episode. We're talking cancer with Helen. I'd apply for a job or it's pretty good at getting through to second views. And as soon as you mentioned I can say you suddenly found that it would stop. Helen has a hereditary gene. Which makes them more susceptible to cancer so much so she's being diagnosed six times of had by all cancer cancer. The wound cervical cancer breast cancer skin cancer. Helen talks to me about how her numerous council diagnosis have affected her career and her finances the night before eighteen to have surgery. My boss set me off to get somebody else in. I ended up two days after my surgery. Zoom payroll from my hospital bed. What has nearly three decades of cancer looming large taught her about the way employers handled the disease years fag. Big See something you didn't speak about each shoved it under the carpet whereas I think now people realize it's not Sarah. Death sentence plus later on million professionals. Dany and Liz are popping him for a Coupla to talk about how to deal with work when you have cancer it's important that you're open with your employer and tell them about your cancer so that they're there to be able to support you women melon and we're talking cancer Helen. Welcome alone it's lovely to me. I love me now. Most people who we've had a chat way than who've joined us on the podcast have had a single diagnosis of cancer. Tell us how many times you've been diagnosed in an on what you found out about it. I've been diagnosed with cancer six times. I'm at risk of getting several other types of cancer. I've had by our cancer cancer. The womb cervical cancer breast cancer skin cancer. And I found out that I've actually got age. Netting condition which the easy word is Lynch Syndrome and that gives you previous predisposition to actually a lot more cancers and it also is hereditary so my son has tested positive for it so that means that in the future he could. He's got an eight percent chance getting pummeled cancer. It's a on a very basic level. It's really lovely that you are here. I caught me just. It's absolutely amazing. I didn't I had no idea that this was a condition. And we're GONNA talk about lots more. I want to tell you about though to life before cancer and before the diagnosis. So what was Helen? Like before the initial diagnosis. What was life like for you? I was bright bubbly. I had not wrong got married. I had a two year old son. I was working fulltime. I enjoy dancing reading walking just north things. Family things and that initial bowel cancer diagnosis. Then what were the first indications the first signs that you had that were worrying you I for a Lotta stomach aches and bow crimes. I was going to the toilet a lot more and I lost a lot of weight so I went to my doctor and he told me was. Ibs and then. Eventually it took them eighteen months to even referred me to specialist. But only because I kept bugging them and when they eventually did the tests are had the tests done on the Mandy results back on Wednesday of his in hoster on Sunday at the operational Monday. Tell us when this was well. Because we're going back a while aren't we? We are nine hundred ninety one. Okay so that's nearly thirty years ago. Yes and that process obviously sounds extremely frustrating when you left the GP for the first time how did you feel about almost being brushed off the the GP that was telling me? There's nothing wrong. I thought I was not being listened to and I was told that I couldn't have anything seriously wrong with me because I was too young. The wrong shape And the wrong sex to actually have anything serious lightbulb cancer. So and it was Ashley. Hinted at the psychological Okay now I know at this point and then you get the You. Get your diagnosis and you. You're into hospital. That must have been a really difficult time for you. I know that home life wasn't particularly happy at that point as well. That's right. My husband couldn't cope with the idea that I had cancer. We were all say not getting on that well At a two year old son and the back of my head I was just thinking how am I can cope house. My little boy can hope but I can get through. This scared. Didn't know what the future is going on and the doctors weren't telling me anything it's amazing. How much has changed over the years? Isn't it I'm glad to say now. This experience the initial bowel cancer diagnosis. You get over that. And at what point are we are we into realizing that there's something else there's an underlying hereditary issue that is prompting all these different cancer diagnosis. I heard a breast cancer cervical cancer. At that time you had those and I was saying doctors. There must be something going on here but they they said no no. There's nothing and then just by chance. My sister started having some problems because I'd had bowel cancer. She was worried she wanted to get tested. Genetic testing was in. It's very very early days at that time. And the only way that she get tested was if I was tested I had to prove that the cancer went back three generations so had come up with the the Death certificates and everything else to prove. This oh my goodness me And it was on one side as well because that that was way had blood tests done and it took them six months to get the results. Back I'm wasting all that. Time must have been excruciating Was this may be an onset. An explanation to what was going on. That was something that was quite welcome. Almost that you know at least you could call it something. Well at least somebody was listening. And at least they were explaining to me some court so reasons why this might be happening. And also if it was something hereditary. I wanted to make sure that my family and my sisters and everybody else because it doesn't just affect me would affect my sisters their children if my mom because it turns out that my mom had passed. It's me no. Well Yeah I guess. Of course of course and then so you get this diagnosis which is called one more time Lynch Syndrome. But you want the real name for it is hereditary. Non of equipment sorry is gone. H An PCC registering on police posts. Polyposis colorectal cancer. Try saying out there on a Friday. So you you've got this diagnosis. Does that then help you process what's happened to you and how you view and how you approach the future? I knowing that I've got it not really because it doesn't change. Anything just makes me realize that I might have passed it onto somebody else. Bought the good side of it. Is that everybody else in? My family can get tested. Yes and so. They could get caught a lot quicker and it wouldn't have to go through everything that I went through to actually get the diagnosis. My son now has annual Colonel Skopje's and guest roscoe peace and it means that if he gets the teen years tiniest little polit they will take it away straight away so the risk is high for him to get bowel cancer bar. The chances are he will get caught a lot quicker. Tell me about that. Tell me about the current state of your current state. My Cancer I mean remission which is good. I still have chances of getting other types cancer but I have actually had all my colon taken away. I now have an estimate so I walk around with a lovely little bag on my side whose lovingly called Donald. I went to the reasons why. They and los generally good. I get very tired. I do still have time. Wake up middle night. Don't know why I'm feeling frightened or scared. And if I do something wrong with me I do probably wonder more than other people might do but generally I'm fine I want to talk specifically about work Because I know it's been. It was important to you. What were you working at the before your first cancer diagnosis before my first cancer diagnosis. I was working for a design company and I was doing finance. So practically most of my career's infinite. She's good with numbers and it's been a new what full-time and we're progressing and enjoyed being a working woman. I enjoyed were king on. I loved being in city. I loved the Baas And I'm not really a stay at home person so we're talking about the early nineties. Which is a way back now when you got your first diagnosis. How supportive initially were your employees that point those employers employers always with the time they were they were following in the office. It was a bit strange because people didn't know what say what to do so some people just ignored the fact that I'd be weighing. Come back some people made jokes other people. They made jokes made jokes. So we have new bags and things like that it was. It was quite strange being back but I love being bad. And how much time did you take off so you went? You had some surgery and then you had some treatment for the cancer. And how much time door-to-door did you have off work really at that point probably a couple of months? Okay and at that point. Did you negotiate the sick pay thing fairly easily through that company? That company was fine. They gave me full pay but unfortunately I was made redundant from that company and after that was when the kind of not messed onto and tell me about how that did start so I would apply for a job and at back at that time and then weren't rules in place to cover. Things like disabilities and sickness so employs more or less. Do what they wanted. And I'd apply for a job I would get through. Always pretty good again getting through to second interviews and then they would start talking about health and they asked me about my health. Lead US got sick days off and as soon as you mentioned I can say you suddenly found that you didn't get any further. It would stop really. Yeah did that happen. On several occasions not getting through to the next stage on many many occasions I actually had one contract. I'd actually signed the contract. And this was after I had my my womb cancer. They sent me. The contract are was Jud starts and filled in the medical form sent his in then all of a sudden the job disappeared. Apparently they'd restructured and they didn't need me anymore. That must make you feel terribly terribly. Sad and frustrated it made me feel very depressed One of the big things by cancer is you don't have control and you feel a bit useless. Sometimes you feel that you're not the same person you not normal so to get back to work is one of the very important stages of getting back to as normal as you can be so to be told. Time and time again that you can't have a job makes you feel worthless. You did get a job eventually. I got a job with an ice company. Ping Canary Wharf. Nice people that lost two week. Okay whoa how dumbfounded. What do you mean that lasted a week? I started with them. Started doing the job and after about four days they called me in and they asked me if I need problems and I said well you know not really well. This is only. We've noticed that you go to the toilet a lot and we've been timing you and you spend about ten minutes time in there. You really can't do computation with this. So I'm sorry you have to go. Helen how'd I mean at this point? Man How are you negotiating these tricky conversations with with employers this point? Are you more aware of your rights as an employee at all well at that time the rights were very much in place so it was quite difficult but at the time? You've already been through a long struggle and I'm quite lucky because I'm quite open. I'm quite extrovert and I will stand up for myself. But there are a lot of people out there who don't and I found the conversations very frustrating but I was quite optimistic. I'd find something else so Forward a decade. And and where are you now? You're working ten years later. You are working and there were multiple diagnosis that you've experienced already. What was the situation at work that point then so then eventually we if we look sorta back about ten years ago. I got a job in a company Start do very well. In that company on started offers. The finance manager ended up as finance director. But during that time my Balkans came back. I had several thousand hospital the night before. Eighteen to have surgery. My boss said to me. I think we'll have to get somebody else in and I sat down. Hang on a minute. I've been here for three or four years. You can't just do that. I ended up so that he wouldn't get somebody injury place me. I was working in hostile. Today's surgery I was doing payroll from hospital bed. What so what are the conversations you have at? That point was their their verbal pressure at the time to come back to work. Yep always asked before ain't gonNA asked hand on the off and I said I don't know burn fishawy probably about six weeks. Maybe two months. He said he was going to be very supportive. Yes very supportive but couldn't do that meal that time. So could I work so you have your certificate saying you are unfit for work. But the expectations to work seem to have been quite high. I came out of hospital and I was working straight away. From the moment I go down hospital. I had my in hospital. They actually confiscate my laptop. I I should think so. Goodness gracious me case. It's interesting though because you. You're a bright hardworking woman and I'm sure you had a great sense of duty to work. Which a lot of people do not being taken advantage of a little bit here in the situation. It feels like people know you enjoy your work. Yep People can say that you are sick so and they I think the back of their minds they know that maybe find it hard to get another job so I think they do tend to play on bet because what they say is well repressurize little bit. She'll do some work because you'd be worried it's GONNA loser job. It's obviously having the you know having time off work and then being out of work has must have had a financial impact on your life. How have you managed with great difficulty? I got interests with mortgage my mortgage. I had to go onto benefits which I'm done before I had to take loans from friends and families. I have what a supermarket with a calculator to make sure that I didn't go. Overspending afford my bank. They went very helpful. That's where people like McMillan come in because they do campaigns and I got involved in a campaign to help try and get the banks to setup specialists people because people earned the phone. They don't talk to people. I mean if your best wrangled cancer you'd find it if God seek into them about two so somebody at the end of the phone doesn't know how to do that so campaigns to help getting people to specialize operators put you in touch with my bank and there was nothing they could do and the person at the end of the phone. I said are we saying to the Michael Cancer? I need help. And they were saying yes. But you'll have to go into mortgage arrays. And then they'll do this and then they'll do that and I'm saying I can't do that you know I've got a young son. I've got faith and nobody listened at the time it has got better. I must say was You mentioned Macmillan. Obviously would that other avenues that you push you to find financial advisor or did you very much feel. There wasn't alone out there at the time. There wasn't a lot out there. My main backup through the whole thing right from the start as b McMillan because they got wet sites and they have help lines and they give a lot of information about financial stuff from what stew and they were the people that really helped me with the work issues They put me in touch with. I have a contact called Allison. Who Helps me in a lot staff? And when I told her I was having all these problems at work she said give them this and she gave me a copy of the Disability Act. I popped on my desk after that. Generally he started perk-up Betton started to take more notice. And I would say to anybody out there who's having problems first and foremost be honest with the bank and be honest and open with your employer. How concessions with them and if they don't listen plot the disability act in front of them. Phone Allison Allison special. She'll help you. I'm so you have a new job don't you? I have a wonderful new. Tell us about the job. Say My new job is I've done finance so my years and I decide age the some my last job. I was Kinda managed down because I I've been off too much so we came to a settlement I left or to three months off and then a friend said there was job going. I'm as a finance test analyst and I taught now I can't do I t but then I thought well hang on a minute Lots of things. I've never done before that I can try and so I decided to give it a go so now I'm working in an office where they take sickness and disability very seriously wonderful sick pay and everything the most exciting thing for me when I started in this nurse. I'm really really stupid to anybody. Who Doesn't have a story? Mubarak is that they have a disabled toilet way at all and they do they care. Um first-time because Donald has had a habit of leaking sometime. Yes so first time that happened but everyone in there a month six weeks. They sent me a said. No no no. No no no go home because it's always a bit traumatic so they sent me home If a phone up and say I'm really tired. Okay work at home. So they apparently done. It can be done and I'm I'm so pleased. It's it's Overdue that you've been treated while at work now. I did want to talk to you as well. Because when you met your second husband yes click at the big smile on your face. You decided to cover to Islam as that helped you. It has is given male of strength and comfort and I feel like I've found myself and an interesting question I think is is. How have you found? Cancer is discussed in the Muslim community. Generally it's not there's an some of it is culture which isn't necessarily to do with Islam but are a lot of myths and culturally shoes with women gained see male doctors with husbands and they don't want to tell their husbands because they're embarrassed some people think that they have got cancer because being punished There's an awful lot worse off an awful lot of work to do there. I had a friend my local mosque. Who eventually spokesman told me that? She was worried because she had a lump in abreast It turned out that she had stage for breast cancer. She'd had that lump for over six months. Goodness me. She didn't go because the doctor was male. Yeah and I did explain to. You can ask to see a female doctor. Awesome to send you to a female consultant. If you're that worried but I did also explain to her that she could have somebody with her. Because it's all about showing yourself off to other people and so there are still ways to get round that but we do need to set up. More support grates beneath there to be more help for and I'm sure it's not just in the Muslim community now we're probably talking about in Hindu and everywhere depend coaches the ripple effect of your experience in your cancer story is GonNa have far reaching effect. I think isn't it and it must be very nice for some of those women to have another woman to come and talk to who has had some experience as well. It must be you know. Really Nice for that lady to come to you and said they own worried about that. Not My style. That must make you feel you know good. It does make me feel good I try to do as much as I can even like talking today because I feel that a lot of people they sit there in silence. They have they're worried about it. That don't short their family visit. Don't want to put their problems on the phonics. Another family is going to be worried anyway. They feel embarrassed about talking about stuff to people they don't know ought to family and friends. I've had friends who've actually cross the street so they don't have to talk to me because and it's not because they don't love me and they don't like me just they didn't know what to say and. I think that we need to get more help from training. Gp's to be a bit more understanding. We need there to be better facilities hospitals so people don't spend loads of money on parking and we need to be able to diagnose more creek. There's much more today. I wanted to ask you as well that the country experience is so unique because it spans almost thirty years. You must have seen improvements in the workplace in that time. That make you feel encouraged. I have I seen attitudes towards people we can see. Changing more facilities are available so segregate more disabled toilets again more ranch. You're getting people being more understanding. I think people are more open to talking about stuff. Now and years back the big C was something you didn't speak about each shoved it under the carpet whereas I think now people realise surly death sentence so managers more able to talk to people. I think there's been more training going on in the background. So people know how to deal with people more for sure. I think generally people more aware so even your colleagues now a more aware. What's going you still find that some? Kansas don't want to talk about. That's why I have. Donald Roth makes it easy to talk about but generally it's much easier to work now now you I mean we've only known each other for a very short period of time but you start. Music generally chipper type of lass. And I know that you're encouraged boiled the the changes that you've experienced but it has been a battle clearly for you and does that does that leave you bitter and angry orders that. How have you coped with you? Know the the not just the cancer and not just the multiple diagnosis but the trauma. Work and I'm what you've been through. How'd you manage that emotionally a choice? Think about the good stuff I've got going on and I try and be positive. And every day they are finding new cues new ways of dealing new treatments When I look at how things were back in nineteen ninety one and I say how they are. Now that gives me great. Hope for the future because things have changed so much in that thirty years. So how much more can they change? In the next thirty years we have. Obviously the people listening may be in a similar situation at work and Struggling with how to start these conversations negotiates the landscape of of employment. When you have a cancer diagnosis. What what is your talk tip? What's your advice to somebody who is going through something like that? Find Somebody to talk to. They will tell you what your rights are an NBA as open with your employer as you can be have an open and frank discussion with them so that they don't have any false expectations so they know what they have to do and speak to your colleagues to make sure that they understand as well but most of all make sure you tell your employer if you've been through cancer you've been through chemotherapy. You've been through radio therapy if you get a cold. You're not likely stay off. You're more likely to be at work. So you're more likely to stay there work hard. Not Because you think you might get the side but because you need to because you won't see and that's the biggest thing. Helen thank you ever so much. It's just been a delight to speak to I I I can only imagine what you've been through into into come out the other end of the small faces quite something. Thank you so much time McMillan. Professional Daniel is with me as usual. Dany hello lovely to see you again. we are also joined however by Liz Egan McMillan's work in cancer expert. Liz Fantastic to have you with us. Welcome great to be here. Thank you now. You've both been listening to fantastic fabulous. Helen Dany what do you? What do you make of her story? What an amazing lady and and actually we so need people to be open and frank about the challenges that they've had particularly around Work but also their other experiences so that we can help other people. We talked to helm primarily about about work Liz. And what was so amazing to hear from hers. Well is that affirmation that going back to work and being employed is so important not just not just financially but also to you emotionally It can really turn whole work. Landscape upside down content absolutely. It can totally do that. But I suppose what I'd like to kind of emphasizes that you know. It's not the same experience for everyone and it's very dependent on the type of cancer. You have the sort of job you have and also how supportive your employer is and has support of Your Line. Manager is going to be in terms of your experience so some people have very easy journey and then some people have much more difficult experiences. And it's just going to be different for everyone and I think we have to. We have to realize that and understand that. I mean Dana. Particularly when we've been speaking I've being a and I didn't think I would be but I've been very surprised about how different everybody stories because not. Everybody has six months of chemotherapy. It's just not that straightforward. Is it no absolutely not? And Ashley said There are lots of different types of cancer. And they're all very different. They will have different impact on you. And that's the difference but so at the beginning then when you are going to start negotiating this this tricky time With your employer. How should someone begin to approach their place of work? Well I think talking about your diagnosis is the first step chuck. She having a conversation with your employer about your cancer and how you're going to be managed in the workplace And most people actually find their employers are very very supportive particularly when they're shoot through treatment but they worry loft that if telling their employer they must have a negative reaction so they're worried that maybe there would made redundant or that. They might lose their job but actually there are laws. That are in place to protect you if you have cancer diagnosis and actually it's important that you're open with your employer and tell them about your cancer so that they're there to be able to support you when you say employer. Is this a walking into on a Monday morning? And saying can I speak to my line manager or the CEO or is this an HR thing? How literally from the For the moment? Who is the first person in your opinion? Is the best place to go if you can. So your manager is the most important person to you absolutely supervisor. They're they're the person that you're going to have to talk to thrasher cancer journey through your treatment when you go back to work so they're the first point of contact for you and it's really good. If you have a good relationship with your line manager it can make such a difference to your whole journey absolutely such different so I would say talk. July monitor issue I portion of coal. However if you don't have good relationship with your line manager then tried to speak to somebody else business. Maybe somebody in the HR department if you have a HR department And you know if you're worried about having that conversation you know you can actually bring somebody in with you into that. First Conversation with your line manager so that you can get support and it could be a colleague work for example And that's really quite important and we'll see if you belong to a union. Sometimes it's good to bring a union rapid and But you know you don't necessarily want to do that unless feeding really uncomfortable in having that initial conversation and I think in terms of thinking about preparing for that conversation the first thing I would do if I was in that situation as I try to find out as much as possible in advance of the meeting about your diagnosis you know thinking about you. Know what time off you might need from work. Ask Your oncologist. Ask Your clinical team find that information is and then what is a good tip is actually to actually write down exactly what you want to say to your employer before you go in And then that will guide your conversation and think about things like he know. Do I want this information to be confidential? Do I want to tell my Boston? My colleagues about my diagnosis What time off would I like to request What would help me may be. I want to work through my treatment to stay in my job. Things like If I'm good to be off work for treatment how are we going to stay in touch? You know how often she should be by phone by email face to face. You know if you're in the middle of treatment you're feeling very sick. You might not want to appreciate a phone call from your line manager. So knowing all of that's really important and then also asking about things like well pleasure my sick pay entitlements you know water the policies are there any good schemes work to support me. I love employed places of employment have employee Assistance Programs. Which offer counseling so there might be some good services that your employer has you might not know about so do ask as many questions you can get as much information as you can but be prepared and be prepared for that conversation And take some notes if you want to If your employer takes notes you can ask for notes of that conversation. All these things All this advice is available on our website. So if you don't catch it all just Google McMillan and work and you'll get all this information and advice there for anybody. That is just getting a diagnosis Who's at work? However the basic the basic premises? You are entitled to some sick pay. Well sick pay depends very much on your contract of employment so I would say. Ask Your line manager about sick pay. That's really important. Because there's two types of sick pay their start she sick pay. Which is a minimum amount that you can get up to twenty eight weeks and most people who've contracts of employment can get ten gets statutory sick pay which will be paid by your employer but on top of that you may have occupational or company sick pay and so some of those policies can be very generous. You know some some employers can pay full pay for periods of time and half pay for another period of time If you work in the public sector for example it's very very generous. Sick pay So I would say talk to your line manager find out what your entitlements are if you're anyway worried and concerned with what they respond to you just call the Macmillan support line as well. We've got some really good work. Support visors and financial Guides Welfare rights advisers. That can give you some very good advice around issues like pay for for someone like me. Who's sitting here as a self employed person is there? Is there some advice that Macmillan have as well? Well if you're self employed or you run a small business. It's it's really difficult because what you're doing is you're juggling Huron Cancer Diagnosis doesn't employee of that business. And you're juggling the business itself and that's a real struggle however we have some very good advice on our website and also our helpline advisors will also give you some advice on finance and how to think about your finances as you as you move. Move along diagnosis. So I suggest. Check the website colour advisors if you're self employed. Are you going to small business? Dining one of the things that Liz has just mentioned is is going to that. Meeting armed with lots of information about You'll likely Treatment Program. Who who dictates how much time you might have to ask for of work is that you're in College. Est. is that how you feel personally. Is it what you're allowed to take for as an employer? It's a combination really because there are some types of treatment and some Chemotherapy regimes where you might be more at risk for period of time if you're in an open office environment so it's it's important to understand If there are any risks a period of time through your treatment. Some people don't know how they're gonNA feel when they have their treatment and they're much more tired than a than they think. But actually if you have the open conversation with with your employer once once you know what type of treatment you're having and you've been able to ASA specialists The likely impacts of treatment then you can absorb that and think okay. I actually if I just travelling to work two days a week instead of five days a week. Can I have the ability to work home? I might be able to manage it or maybe I can do some part time hours. I think that's a very individual thing. Annesley says what she got the information about the type of treatment the potential impacts of that treatment then you can make some choices and have some open conversations with your employer. Yes Liz because it seems like the encouraging thing is that this is not one one meeting where it's black and white and it's an ongoing conversation. Yes because think the time off that you might need at the beginning when you're just diagnosed and you just going to treatment is going to be very different from when you've finished your treatment and it's time to go back to work And actually I think probably earlier on it's clearer time off you might need because hospital appointments dictate off really But I think the trickier bashes when your treatment finishes and you're in that recovery stage while while it's like Danny said you know your oncologist. Clinical team can give you some indication of what your how you might feel over a period of time. What's really really hard to know exactly what's going to happen And actually how much time off you might need. And how and how you would phase your return to work for example so one thing that you can do is make sure that you talk to your oncologist. Trying get some sense of that. And then talk to your gp about issue with a fifth knows and knows is really quite important because on the fifth note your GP can actually say you know. Suggest adjustments that you might for a period of time like a phase return to work and that can that can start with your GP or compensation there it can start with your GP. They're not experts on the workplace. Obviously but they can listen to you and China understand your needs and ask you. What is your colleges told you. And then you when you go insure up to talk to your line manager you can have your book with you and have thought is the basis of your discussion with your with your line manager. Now some workplaces they will have ocupation health department and your line manager may request. You have an occupational health assessment to understand your fitness to work. So that is also a fitness statement. That could also form part of your conversation with your line manager. Oh this is fantastic. When you have a good relationship with your line manager in the unfortunate event that you might not and things aren't going to plan and you're experiencing some resistance. Where's the first place and one of the first things you suggest you do? Well I think you know. First of all as Helen mentioned earlier. You have rights at work when you have a cancer diagnosis and there are two aspects so across the UK There's legislation in place equalities legislation in place that protects you from being treated less favourably. Because you have concert from other people that say in the workplace it also puts a requirement on the employer and your line manager to make what we call reasonable adjustments to support you to say. Stay in your job now. I want to be clear. What's reasonable just anything absolutely anything that sports you stay in work? It can be support for phase return to work for example over at say two three months to help you get back into build up your strength to get back into work. It can mean Enabling you if you can't work at home for a period of time avoiding rush hour traffic traveling in Russia our It can mean you know working part time it could mean changing your job description in fact or changing your job on a temporary or long or a long term basis with your agreement of course It can mean things like you know seating you next to toilet areas for example. If if it's easier for you to for you to use bathroom for example. So any adjustments coming up anything that will support you to stay in your job. But there's always a technical issue there in there have to be reasonable adjustments so reasonable means essentially. Is there a cost there? Is it possible for your employer to do that? So what might be reasonable for a massive in a massive multinational company might be very close unreasonable in the tiny small business? So I think you have to take that into account and it's a judgment call really on the Porsche on your part on the part of your employer. Helen mentioned not having to tell her. Employees Pre being employed about her diagnosis is a requirement so This is a technically trickier issue. So in England. Scotland and Wales. Your employer shouldn't ask you about your health prior to offering you the job however there are some exceptions to that and what I would suggest. Is that people come to our website and have a look or talk to one of our work sport advisers if they want to actually talk about those exceptions in Northern Ireland. Your employer can actually ask you about your health at interview but what everybody needs to remember to understand is actually if you talk about your cancer. Countries is classified as disability across all the four nations in the UK. And that means you get the protection of the law. So you shouldn't be discrimination against in your interview just because you've had a cancer diagnosis and you need to understand. Another important point is remember if you're applying for a job and you're asked are you disabled. You should actually take the box. Yes because actually you are legally disabled for the purposes of legislation. And if you take that box than your protections kick in so that's an important point to remember you to a complete legends. I'm like you know I feel. I feel the most prepared person in the world. Should I ever been fortunate enough to find myself with comes a diagnosis but you just wonderful mine of information anywhere? We need to go to get more information about Comes diagnosis and our workplace rights. As Lewis said I think we have a wealth of information on our website. And there's actually a tool kit that has everything in there so information for your employer information for you Which is an amazing resource. So I would let people go to our website and look through the resources there and pick out what's best for them and can also plug also are a work support service so we have Asia advisors on our help line who specialize in working issues and they have a wealth of experience and they can offer you information and guidance about any stage whether you're having difficulties at work if you're looking for a new job and you want advice on how to talk about your cancer diagnosis and maybe talk about when you've been off sick for work so reading important. They're great team and please call them. And if you're in trouble and you're having problems at work our advisers can also offer you a one-off legal advice as well so An important resource to be aware of Dany List. Thank you so very much as always thanks to Helen for sharing his story to get more information about what we've talked about in this episode. Then go to our website McMillan Dot Org dot. Uk forward slash talking cancer next time which talking cancer treatment with Ben. There was a nurse that came over to me and she was expecting things. Look down a name Badge and seven Macmillan on it I thought Oh my God things of really really real really quickly. Subscribe if you'd like to hear that and every new episode whenever it's ready and if you're enjoying the series why not give it a rating or a review? It helps us find the poll COSMO reasoning. I'm a maybe talking. Cancer is a Macmillan cancer support podcast.

Coming up next