Supporting colleagues with cancer at work

The chances are someone in your workplace is directly affected by cancer, either through being ill themselves or through a close relative having the disease. The stats make for sobering reading: 

  • More than 700,000 people of working age are living with cancer across Britain.  
  • Cancer now affects 1 in 3 of us.
  • There are 90,000 new diagnoses a year among the UK working population.

Our hearts go out to anyone who gets a cancer diagnosis, and yet believe it or not, people with the disease often experience considerable prejudice from both managers and colleagues at work – anything from being treated without due discretion, patience and understanding, to being downgraded and even made redundant.  

To coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month (1 – 31 October) which starts today, the TUC and Macmillan Cancer Support have launched Cancer in the Workplace: A workbook for union representatives, which gives guidance to union representatives, employees, line managers and employers on how best to support colleagues with cancer at work.

As survival rates improve and people retire later, many people will continue to work after – or even during – their treatment for cancer. The TUC believes that workers with cancer can benefit psychologically and financially when they are supported back into work at the right time. It’s no more than they deserve and we can all play a part. 

Read the guidance: Cancer in the Workplace

Related links

Breast Cancer Awareness Week

Macmillan Cancer Support - Your Rights at Work