Carrying on working after diagnosis and treatment can help because it gives you a sense of normality. Not everyone is able to work and some people choose to leave work or cut back on hours or duties. It is important for you to decide on the best working arrangement for you.

You may need to negotiate leave or absence from work, particularly if you opt for surgery or need to have more intensive treatment. You do not have to tell your employer you have cancer. Even though you may need to provide a medical certificate if you take paid leave, it does not need to specify you have cancer. Under privacy laws, your company should not tell your colleagues personal health information about you. However, most employers are sympathetic to people with cancer and it can be very useful to discuss honestly how the treatment may impact your work. If you choose to tell your employer, think about why you want to tell them and what you need from them. You could go to your employer with suggestions for how they could help you (eg. flexible hours). Alternatively, speak with someone in your Human Resources department about how to access your employee support scheme or employee wellbeing program. There are some useful resources through your local Cancer Council about how to approach your employer.

Casual workers and self-employed people will need to think seriously about how to manage during their cancer treatment. Find out how the treatment will impact your work and make a business plan to help keep your business afloat while you are out of action. Being self-employed can offer more flexibility to take time off work, but you may also be worried about financial issues. Consult a financial planner and check insurance policies, your superannuation or Centrelink to find out your options.