My Ovacome

Going back to work

Hello, I had debulking emergency surgery in February and 1C mucinous oc diagnosed. 6 sessions of chemo followed with some delays due to white cells and been off work since. Scans okay but having investigations due to stomach problem.

Due to go back to work soon and I am terrified ! ! My employers have been good and I have to see occupational health advisor before I go back with a view to a staged comeback etc

I didnt feel confident doing the job prior to the oc as stressful and feel have lost more confidence being off.

Any advice/tips/experience that anyone can offer would be gratefully received.

9 Replies

Hello Helen,

I felt exactly the same as you - and was sure that two decades of fighting and working 24 hrs a day had caused my illness. I negotiated redundancy with my employer, but I'm afraid it all ended up in the courts as I did not get the honest dealing and understanding I expected and deserved. My advice would be to decide what you feel you would be capable of, and be clear with the employer. They also need to be aware of the additional stress having had oc puts you under. There is no way that they should do anything that might make you more susceptible to recurrence.

You moght be able to get them to provide you with some counselling through and Employee Assistance Programme, which will help you clarify what you need and want, but listen to what your intuition tells you is right for you.

Very best wishes,



Hello Isadora,

Thank you so much for your reply and sorry you had so much trouble over your redundancy, it would have been the last thing you needed.

I will ask about counselling when I see the Occ health advisor or manager at work as I think that will help me go forward and deal with my issues.

Thanks again. It is great to be able to talk with everyone on the site who have been or are experiencing the same issues.



Hi Helen

I was off work for 9 months and felt exactly the same when I was due to go back. I had lost all confidence, but my employers were very understanding and after a couple of months of mornings only I decided that I didn't want to go back full time and asked if I could go part time. At first my manager said if wouldn't be possible, but as luck would have it a couple of women in my firm had come back from maternity leave and negotiated part time work and when I mentioned that I thought this was unfair that they could do this and I couldn't she relented. I now work 2 days a week and my job is less stressful. Just remember you now come under the disability discrimination act and your employer is duty bound to make your return to work as easy as possible. Maybe they could find a less stressful part of the job for you to do. When I first returned I used to sit at my computer and feel so afraid and tearful, but we have a wonderful works doctor who explained that I would have highs and lows and eventually the lows would become less and less..............and he was right. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. The confidence will come back.

Love Chris x


Hello Chris,

Thank you for your reply and I am glad you managed to get sorted with your own place of work.

It's reassuring to know that the confidence will come back. I think I need to give it time. The best advice comes from the people on this site who have been through the same experiences.

I will see how it goes when I do get back to work as they have been very good with me but will keep your advices in mind.

Thanks again

Love Helen


Hi Helen

I was off work for ten months and felt just as you do. Unfortunately my employer was not sympathetic and my return was stressful. However, as Chris says, anyone who has had cancer is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act and has to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a wide range of back to work or new working arrangements.

ACAS is a useful source of information and advice as is your local CAB office. I hope you won't need to refer to either organisation but sometimes knowledge is a powerful weapon and can help bolster a faltering self confidence!

There was a thread about returning to work on this site earlier this year it might be worth searching for that and read some other comments to encourage and help you through this next step,

For me it was a really hard transition but I did it and have been back at work for 18 months without a day off on sick leave!

Becky xx


Hello Becky,

Thanks for your comments and your help.Glad you are keeping well and got through everything.

I will have a look at the ACAS site and in particular the thread on the site as I am sure it will help.

Thanks again,

Helen x


Target Ovarian Cancer do a guide for occupational health professionals to help them support women returning to work. They also have tips for women in their What happens next guide. Both deal With Confidence etc I'm sure they'd send you a copy of both - so you could then give one to the occ health person you see. Cal them on 0207 923 5470.good luck


Hello Ali, Thank you for your reply and the number for Target Ovarian cancer. I will follow this up for the info.


Dear Helen

I've just posted a blog about my experience of returning to work and then thought of doing a search for similar blogs/questions. I wonder how you're getting on? Have you returned by now? What were your experiences. I've been rather shocked by what happened at my place of work even though I'd have considered these people decent by ordinary standards.

I'd love to hear how you're getting on and if you think I can be of any help please let me know.



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