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I am an employee and I have breast cancer

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If you are employed at the time of your breast cancer diagnosis, you will need to consider:

  • your employment arrangements
  • your financial situation
  • if you want to continue working or take time off
  • how your diagnosis and treatments may affect you emotionally and physically.
I took 18 months leave from work. I wanted my hair to have grown before I went back. When I did return, I reduced my working hours to better suit me and my family.


What to do with work following your diagnosis

Deciding what to do with work after your breast cancer diagnosis is a personal decision – there is no right or wrong answer. Take time to evaluate your work and financial situation and what's going to be best for you. You can then choose to:

  • continue working
  • amend your working hours/days to suit your needs
  • take a temporary break from work
  • resign your position.



Things to consider following your diagnosis

Talk to your employer about your diagnosis. Together, you can make a plan to deal with the impact your treatment may have on you and your workplace.

If you want to make changes to your working arrangement during treatment, you may be able to:

  • job share
  • take periods of time off
  • take extended leave.


If your work includes manual tasks, talk to your medical team about whether these aspects of your job require modification.

It is important that you understand your employment entitlements and legal responsibilities and find out about financial supports that may be available to you. For example, whether you have income protection or trauma insurance.

I returned to work one day after finishing radiotherapy. Now, looking back, I wish I had taken some time off to rest and relax.

Useful information

For further information, the following resources are available: