Working and living with cancer

Mon, 25 Mar 2019

East Riding of Yorkshire Council launched a year-long cancer awareness project in the East Riding recently to help support residents through what could be one of the toughest times in their lives and, this month, the focus is on working with or after cancer.

Cancer can affect many different areas of your life. As well as having the physical and emotional challenges to overcome, there could also be an effect on a person’s finances, work and relationships.

Some people living with cancer may need to arrange childcare for the days they’re having treatment, or longer if they need surgery.

Rent and other bills still need paying but some people may find it difficult to return to work depending on the type of cancer and the stage it is at.

The employer’s support is extremely important for people and it’s essential for employers to recognise and understand that when an employee returns to work, either during or after the cancer, they may have good and bad days.

Lisa, who lives in Beverley, is continuing to work during her treatment and said: “Throughout five months of treatment, my goal was to get back to my normal routine, including work.

“Whilst really happy to be going back, I was also very anxious about how I would initially cope.

“I had amazing support, including a phased return that made a huge difference in getting back up to speed.”

Bev Gibson, human resources manager at JSR Farms in Driffield, said: “We understand that some people who have cancer, or are having treatment for cancer, might need support in terms of flexible working arrangements to attend appointments or to deal with the side effects of treatments or simply to have a day to rest while they are recovering.

“We also believe that it’s important to look after employees whose partner or close family members have cancer and might want to support them by accompanying them at their appointments.

“As a company we believe it is extremely important to support people affected by cancer and to help make their job that little bit easier especially when they have financial responsibilities to fulfil.”

Simon, a manager from Hutton Cranswick, said: “As a manager, I think it’s important to have open and informed conversations with your staff so you can better judge their situation and support them as much as possible.

“As they are already going through a lot in their personal life, it’s vital to try to ease their trauma by making their work life more manageable.

“Personally, my wife is being treated for cancer so I can see the effects it has on a person, both at home and in the workplace.

“I would always try to do anything I could to help reduce that stress for someone.”

Many people will not be aware that there is practical advice available about dealing with your finances whilst living with cancer, as well as what benefits people might be entitled to.

This month’s appeal is to raise awareness amongst employers to think about the support and advice they provide to any of their staff who have a diagnosis of cancer.

For more information visit www.eastridinghealthandwellbeing.co.uk

To become involved in the project as a case study, contact Kimberley Nichol by emailing Kimberley.nichol@eastriding.gov.uk or call (01482) 391444.