supporting employees with cancer

Each year approximately 100,00 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer. But with this comes varying obstacles and new experiences which require flexibility and adaptability from employers. 

Work is an important part of life for many people, but when someone has been diagnosed with cancer, it can prove both difficult and a distraction. Providing a place where they can escape and feel some normality. But businesses, managers, and colleagues can play a very important role in supporting people with cancer. 


How employers can support employees with cancer 


  • Talking about the initial diagnosis, and understanding how the person is feeling. This can be such a confusing time for the person and their family. It can be a time of uncertainty, and for some, the diagnosis can be a shock. 


  • Understand the journey forward for potential treatment. Whether treatment is or isn’t possible, it’s important to understand what are the next steps for a person, and how this could potentially affect them from day-to-day. For example, side effects of chemotherapy can include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, infection, and anemia. 


  • Consider the reasonable workplace adjustments to support an individual. These are changes that remove disadvantages relating to an employee’s disability or illness when doing their job. 


  • Consider the individual’s ability to remain at work. If a person is struggling to remain at work and complete their job, taking some time off may be the right thing to do. However, if a person has had cancer, or has cancer, they are protected by law from unfair treatment at work for the rest of their life, under the Equality Act and Disability Discrimination Act. Employers cannot dismiss employees or force them to retire or resign because of an illness. 


  • Communicate with employees regularly. It’s vital to not only check in with the employee regularly about changes, their feelings, and concerns they have. But also, when reasonable adjustments and changes to their work-life are being considered, the individual should be fully involved. 


  • Support through every stage of the illness is vital. Whether this is listening, providing the relevant support, or simply understanding, support can come in many different forms for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. 


Contact Us 

If there is an employee who has been diagnosed with cancer and as an employer, you want to provide the relevant support but are unsure how, please get in touch with our team. We can provide management referrals where we assess an employee’s ability to remain at work. Call us on 01260 277797 or email us at

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.