There are different types of breast cancer and therefore, different types of treatment. The physical, emotional and mental side effects of these treatments vary from person to person.
Even if you have had employees who have been affected by cancer in the past, it’s important to remember that each person is different.
Most days I would go to work, come home, head to bed for a few hours, get up and cook dinner for the family, eat and collapse back into bed.
Some breast cancer treatments may have side effects and talking about this with your employee will enable you to make necessary adjustments before, during and after treatment.
These can include:
Your employee may experience some or all of the following side effects.
I did struggle with ‘chemo brain’, which was very frustrating, suddenly not knowing how to do things that I had been doing for years.
If your employee has metastatic breast cancer (also known as advanced or secondary breast cancer), it means the cancer cells have spread from the original site in the breast to other parts of the body, often the bones, lung, liver or, less commonly, the brain.
Fortunately, advances in treatments mean that some people with metastatic breast cancer are now living for many years and choose to stay at work for as long as possible.
By law, an employee with metastatic breast cancer should be allowed to work for as long as they want to. As their employer, you can assist them by making appropriate reasonable adjustments.
If your employee is gradually becoming weaker, it can be difficult to manage or know what to do. In this case, an occupational therapist can assist and offer recommendations.
Colleagues in the workplace may find this time upsetting. Be sure to communicate with your employees so they know how to access counselling or employee assistance programs (EAP) that are available within your organisation.
Visit My Journey, BCNA’s online tool for information tailored to your diagnosis.
Join our Online Network if you think that talking to others online and sharing experiences will help.
Contact BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, for information about the services and support that may be available for you and your family.
Did you find this content useful?
Let’s be upfront about death, dying and mortality.
Let’s be upfront about pain, side effects and palliative care.
Let’s be upfront about different perspectives during and beyond a breast cancer diagnosis.
Let’s be upfront about behavioural changes.
Let’s be upfront about life after cancer treatment.
Let’s be upfront about the challenges for those living with metastatic breast cancer.
*This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only.
Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.