Returning to work after breast cancer

If you were employed, whether paid or voluntary, when you were diagnosed, you may have stopped work altogether or for a period of time during your treatment. Your decision about when to start work again will depend on your individual situation. You may find it helpful to return to work when treatment is over. Some women find that returning to work or a regular activity makes them feel valued and gives them the comfort of being around familiar people and situations.

Some people find that a diagnosis of breast cancer makes them rethink their work priorities. You may decide to try a different career path or change to part-time work. If you find you are still tired when treatment is over, talk to your employer or organisation about making your hours more flexible for a period of time.

A discussion with your personnel manager or supervisor early after your return to work will be useful in clarifying expectations.

Tips for returning to work after breast cancer
  • Plan how and who to tell about your work arrangements.
  • Give your work as much notice as possible if you need to take leave.
  • Explore options for part-time work or flexible hours.
  • Ask for leave before you feel tired or burnt out.
  • Keep records of your work hours, and any discussions or correspondence with your supervisor or manager.

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