Hi. Having been diagnosed in 2007 with OC I had a radical hysterectomy followed by standard chemo and a trial for Avastin. Fast forward to Nov 2011 and a return of the cancer in my pelvis. Following another 6 cycles of chemo and another trial, this time cedranib I again went into remission until July of last year. Again I have had cisplatin and am back in remission. I was again offered a new trial which I started on Monday. During the bouts of remission I have continued to work full time and make up any time I had off for hospital visits. This time, however, my company has decided that I must take hospital appointments as leave. Maybe I've been selfish thinking they would continue to support me. I was told yesterday that they have supported me enough in the past. To say I feel let down is an understatement. I feel so down, crying etc, slept badly last night and feel shattered. I now have no option but to stop this third trial, my holidays are for rest and relaxation and spending a day at hospital having tests etc are hardly that! Ive offered to make up the time or take as unpaid but both these are likely to be rejected. Maybe I just expect too much. Apologies if Im rambling but I just needed to get out how Im feeling, which isnt great! Still reeling from the lose of my Dad in May. Had hoped 2014 was going to be a better year, yeah right!

12 Replies

  • Sorry you are being treated like this, but it is horrifying how many of us are discriminated against by their employers. The good news is that, as a cancer patient you are officially 'disabled' and so the law is on your side. The bad news is that you have to fight for your rights at a time when you feel least able to.

    The basics are at macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinfo...

    If you can get support from a trade union, or solicitor, you might feel more able to fight your corner.

    Very best wishes with it.


  • Thank you for your reply. I do know that the law is on my side and im bracing myself to go in today to ask them to reconsider. Im just feeling very vunerable at the moment. If I was abusing their support I could understand why they have made this decision now, but Im not. My hours are 9-5.30 and yesterday I started work at 8.45 and only took 15 minutes for lunch before I was told to take leave! I drove home thinking that I wish they could be in my shoes for just 10 minutes to know what its like to live with this disease. I also just wish I didnt keep going into remission, that it all just came to the end. Feeling very down ......

  • Dear you!

    You must change your thinking about this. For very good reasons, which we all understand, you are feeling so upset because the employers for whom you have bent over backwards, do NOT appreciate your efforts, but see you now as a liability. That is NOT right, it is NOT fair, but it IS the case.

    Forgive me for putting it this bluntly, but stop running the justification dialogue with yourself, and fight for what IS right. They MUST do right by you - not just because it is right, but because if they don't, you sue, and win!

    Be assertive and clear, put your very real hurt aside and say 'support me through this horrendous time, as the law says you must, or I go to action against you, as the law says I should.'

    Be strong, right is on your side.

    I can say this because I had to spent the first year after surgery and chemo fighting the agency I had set up (so people who were only able to betray me because I'd created the jobs for them). They were able to get rid of me in the end, but only after a sizeable payoff (something I would not have agreed to had I been able to fight).

    Sorry, but so many of us are discriminated against once we have had cancer, and by the people who we hope will care!!!

    Stop the rot now, and be assertive. Find somewhere outside work to vent your real feelings of hurt and get support for them

    Very best wishes,


  • So sorry to hear how your being treated and the impact this is having on you just as your fighting this awful disease again. If you can find it within yourself please fight I have a link that may help gov.uk/discrimination-your-... Just remember you have already shown how strong you are in fighting OC.

    Progressive conditions

    A progressive condition is a condition that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be classed as disabled.

    However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with cancer .

    Good luck Kris

  • Yes fight for your rights on this! Dont do what I regrettably did last year as I handed in my resignation due to lack of understanding from my employer - as soon as my employer knew about my cancer diagnosis they wanted 2 HR officers to visit my home for a meeting ( 2 weeks after having a hysterectomy and the same week as I was starting chemotheraphy). I was lucky enough to know I could take a break from working for a while but at the same time knew my employer was totally exploiting the situation. I really empathise with you as prior to getting ill, I worked many hours of unpaid overtime and its really hurtful when the suppport does not work both ways. But as others have said you have the law on your side so do stand your ground and goodluck !


  • It's disgraceful, what you're being asked to do. At a time when you're feeling down because of the recurrence too. The opportunity to go on a trial is good too, so try to stay with it. Do follow the advice.....you'll never forgive yourself if you go along with their bullying approach. I hope you'll contact the Macmillan helpline, as Isadora suggests, who will hopefully put you in touch with an emplyment adviser who can give you some support. Concentrate on what you CAN do something about. I know you're not probably feeling very strong, but act the part.

    Good luck

    Love Wendy xx

  • I think it is outragous the way you have been treated. its hard enough coping with this illness. You keep strong and in no way are you being selfish . In fact you need to be more selfish and do whats right for you as we all know life is too short to let work add to the stress you are already under.

    take care


  • Absolutely appalling. I'm amazed that your employer seems not to be aware of what you are legally entitled to. Is it a small or large organization? I would have expected them to be guided by HR who really should know what you are entitled to. Or are they just trying it on? Let us know what happens.

    Love and best wishes


  • Hi Mary. Thanks for yr reply. its a large international company but we are a small office and our HR is somewhat limited to say the least. I have, however, put my case and an agreement to use some leave and make up the rest of any hours i owe. Its better than I was originally asked to do. I have to say im drained. Its bad enough fighting OC without this.

    Kathy x

  • Dear Kathy

    I was really saddened to read your post. It is truly shocking that even in working for large companies or the public sector employees rights are being eroded.

    Sadly this is more and more the case. The rights of employees have been diminished by recent advice to resolve conflicts rather than relying on a tribunal to make a judgement and this leaves employers in a powerful situation. It's so often left to an employee to negotiate terms when they are feeling at their most vulnerable. HR are rarely there to look after employees. I work as a Union Caseworker for UCU. A union may be able to provide you some support or a caseworker. Never go alone into meetings but take someone with you for notetaking or advice.

    Your company may well monitor sick leave using something called the Bradford Formula which discriminates against people who take a day off a a time rather than weeks at a time because every incidence of leave is noted rather than the length of leave. It might be worth discussing how they are monitoring sick leave and whether you are being prejudiced because you're disabled and you have to take off a day at a time for hospital visits. Your employer really should be making 'reasonable adjustments' for you. This may be arranging more flexible conditions of work, reducing hours, enabling work at home etc. in order that you can continue to work round your hospital appointments and the trial.

    Please do ask if there's anything I can do to help. I'd be happy to speak on the phone so do send a PM if this would help. I'd be more than happy to share what knowledge and expertise I have to help.

    xxx love Annie

  • Hi this is outrageous . You have rights and your employer has responsibility . As soon as you are diagnosed with cancer you have rights under disability act . McMillan have a booklet about your rights if you contact them . More stress is the last thing you need . I hope you get on ok and hope treatment goes well


  • Hi

    This is outraagous, I would see if Mcmillon helpline can help as Im sure they will have a lot of experiance in this area and can point you in the right direction

    Good luck and try not to let you employer get you down, your priority is looking after yourself, remember it is them in the wrong and being unfair.

    sharon x

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