Question re employment

Hi Ladies. Not exactly health related but I have decided to look at changing jobs and going part time due to pressures at work which I don't need. However, I am unsure as to how I broach the subject of my health. I need to attend my hospital appointment every 12 weeks without fail (following a protocol for trial drug) and also a scan appointment every 24 weeks. Any ladies changed jobs, applied for a new job etc and if so what did you say to any prospective employer. I just feel once I say the word Cancer that'll be the end of any interview even though I believe employers arent allowed to discriminate. Any advice welcome ladies. Kathy xx

18 Replies

  • Will be interesting to see what people say but my inclination is don't say anything until you have the job.

    Very good luck and hope you get something soon with a great employer!


  • Thanks, the employer I have at the moment isnt great, used to be brilliant place to work until my line manager died of cancer, hence the need for a change ......

  • I am sure a lot of people have to have regular check ups for various 'conditions' and this should be respected. I think you have to put a positive slant on your recovery, remission or whatever label you use and say this is routine for anyone in your position, and if an employer doesn't respect that then they're not a good employer. Good luck!

  • Hi Kathy .. I think it's amazing that you're working and continue to work.

    For a start, I'm not physically capable of working and the very thought of it overwhelms me. For another, I think I lost some of my mental quickness when I was very ill and more when I had chemo. A lot of that has returned but I have a lot of problems still and I know I'm not in a position to teach. My oncologist says that apart from the state of my abdomen, I have cancer fatigue and that I should just listen to my body and rest when I need to.

    You don't have to declare you have cancer but I don't think I could attend an interview and not reveal that information. It would seem like duping someone really. Even if you were offered the job, it'd be subject to references including your absences from work for whatever reason. Like Harpist, I think I'd put a positive spin on things if I had to. You are, after all, astonishingly incredible in the way that you worked through treatments. I know we're all different, and I know it would have been a physical impossibility for me, but, still, what you did is a minor miracle.

    I was wondering if your present boss would be a little more tolerable if you went part time in your present workplace? That way, you could have a break for some of the week at least. By law, I think your boss has to try to accommodate you if possible for your needs as you try to work with this disease.

    When I think of meeting a prospective employer, I see a brick wall, but not all employers are without heart. My sis had a serious illness (which she continues to live with) but was still taken on by the Inland Revenue after taking a temporary post. When she had a relapse, they helped her through things and then gave her the option of a staged return to work.

    Wishing you every good thing ...


  • I imagine a small company would view the absences more cautiously than a very large organisation. A large organisation is also likely to have an experienced HR person involved in the interview who will know the law and also view the positive side of your recovery and tenacity more favourably. A very large nationwide organisation is also likely to have many employees in a similar situation.

    Also, most offers of employment are subject to receipt of satisfactory references and sometimes health questionnaires so not revealing this at the interview stage may not ultimately be helpful.

    You could try asking the question of the Citizens advice bureau.

  • From a legal point of view you do not have to declare or provide health information if you do not want to, unless the employer asks specific health questions and it comes to light you did not respond truthfully. That can lead to termination of employment and a potential compensation claim against you. The disability and discrimination at work act would not see this action as an offence.

    From an employers point of view, if it was a full time position and I was potentially going to be left short staffed, as we have a small office dependent on our admin staff, I would want to know, however we cover that by asking if there are health issues. That wouldn't stop me hiring someone but to know if I would do better to offer a job share would be worth knowing.

    For part time, I'd just like to think our staff feel comfortable enough with us to say, whether it was a new diagnosis or something more historic. For temporary, part time staff we do not use a health questionnaire, and I would be surprised if anyone else did.

    I would say have a feel around, there's quite a lot of choice out there at the moment. We had 83 CV's for a recent vacancy of a 10 week contract. Narrowed down to just the ones who actually met the criteria, and not the one liners of I want a job lol.

    Good luck

    LA xx

  • Well done on looking for a better working pattern, we spend so much time at work that quality has to be at the top of the list for us.

    I think that if you were offered an interview at the point where they say 'do you have any questions' you could say that you have to have regular routine check ups and would they view them favourably if they were to offer you the post?. That would naturally lead to the questions of why and how often etc.? As others have said they cannot discriminate because of the cancer.

    It always pays to be honest up front, if you don't let them know beforehand about your appointment needs you would be accepting the role falsely if offered, they could possibly dismiss you as you would most likely be on an initial probationary period. Honesty is always the best policy.

    Good luck in your new and exciting venture, fingers crossed you find something you really want to do ❤xx Jane

  • An interesting question- I have generally indicated that I had a long term health condition on applications in the equal opportunity section without specifying what that condition might be. That way, if you want to say anything at interview you can but don't have to. When the job has been offered I would probably say 'I have a health condition which means that I have to attend appointments every 3 months ( or whatever it is) so that they are aware at the time of contract. If they send you to occ health at this stage- so be it but by the time they have offered the job it would look like discrimination if they backed out.

    L xx

  • I agree with Lily Anne. The most important consideration is your fit to the criteria of the job you're applying for. If it's a good one and you're offered the job, I'd let them know at that point. It would come out on the health form anyway. What you really have going for you is that you're applying from a job, and you've been holding that down through all the dealing with your long term condition. Good luck! x

  • Hi Well Im the same as Yewbarrow .. don't. mention it unless asked . Regarding appointments just book them off once you have the job as holiday days .. and give them all the dates in advance . Job Done .. Good Luck too

  • I changed jobs a few months after my initial cancer surgery, & admitted it. I wasn't at the time having any cancer treatment, but while I was working for them, I did need further treatment, & had the time off I needed. Di

  • Hi Kathy, no wise words I'm afraid just good on ya for making the decision,


    Claire xx

  • Macmillan can help you if you call them to clarify your position.

    I wonder if you could swap roles where you are under 'reasonable adjustments'.

  • Hi. My present company arent interested in doing anything under reasonable adjustments to support me I'm afraid so hence the decision to move on x

  • would be inclined to say you have had cancer and go for check ups...after all you don't know the status of your cancer day to day and obviously they won't! They are not supposed to discriminate.....highlight all your strengths and experience....good luck! C

  • Dear Kathy

    As the other replies have mentioned, you are protected under law from discrimination on the grounds of you having cancer. The Equality Act 2010 protects your rights.

    Macmillan have a lot of information about work and employment on their website at the following link:

    If you contact Macmillan on their helpline 0808 808 00 00 they will be able to talk through your specific circumstances with you.

    Best wishes


    Support Service Manager

  • Thanks Anna that's very helpful.

  • how your treatment going?how are you xx

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