Coral's Cancer Survivorship and Advice on Returning to Work

Posted 31st October 2022

A cancer diagnosis is life changing and challenging, not only affecting your health but also disrupting your routine, work life, relationships, finances, emotions and more. And so the prospect of returning to life as ‘normal’ after cancer can be nerve-wracking.

In the UK approximately 890,000 people of working age are living with cancer. Many of whom continue to work after or even during their treatment.

We spoke to Coral Green, an employee at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre about her breast cancer survivorship. She told us what life has been like for her after her cancer diagnosis and treatment, her experience of returning to work, and now what it is like to be working as a Cancer Information and Support Assistant.

Although like Coral, many people recover and can return to their usual working lives after treatment, cancer can have lasting effects on an individual’s mental and emotional health. Coral highlights aspects such as coming to terms with body changes, the worry of cancer returning, financial concerns, changes in friendships and returning to work.

She says, “Returning to work was important to me as I wanted a sense of routine and for things to feel some kind of normal again, even if that was a new normal. You cannot go through a life changing cancer diagnosis and come back as the same person, but you know what, that’s ok! It has made me realise who, and what, are really important to me now”.

Coral has turned her diagnosis into a positive by using her own experiences to help others. However, she still faces difficulties due to side effects of ongoing medication, and faces the constant reminder working in the place she was diagnosed and treated.

Coral says, “I have worked here for 12 years in different roles and during this time, I feel I have made a real difference when speaking with patients and relatives, but I am now at a point where I need to move on from my own cancer diagnosis. Working in CCC every day is a constant reminder of my own cancer journey and the treatment and surgeries I have been through. I think it is important to protect yourself and do whatever feels right for you and do whatever is best for your own mental health and wellbeing. Have the confidence to talk to your manager if you feel that adjustments need to be made to help with your return to work”.

Through Coral’s own experience of breast cancer survivorship and from talking to other patients as a Cancer information and Support Assistant, she has informed advice for people returning to work:

# # #

For more information and support on adapting to life after cancer visit: Macmillan: Life after cancer treatment