Work support for people with cancer

John 59, diagnosed with prostate cancer

John's mother passed away soon after he was diagnosed - he was out of work, in a new city and feeling very isolated.


We gave him reassurance and helped him find a suitable job as a delivery driver.

"This has been a difficult time for me with everything that's been going on. Getting this job really has changed my life, thanks to the support and encouragement of Shaw Trust."

Find out about our work support for people with cancer

Owes Ibrahim 23, diagnosed with testicular cancer

When we met Owes, he was battling testicular cancer and too ill to get out of bed. He's back in work and helping to inspire other young people with cancer.


"Shaw Trust went out of their way to help me decide what I wanted to do and how I could do it - and whenever I needed advice, I could just give them a call."

Work support for people with cancer

Why help is needed

Over 100,000 working-age people are diagnosed with cancer each year and half have to give up or change their occupation*. We know work can play a hugely positive role in recovery, but often people aren't given the basic help and information they need.

  • 80% aren't made aware of the impact cancer can have on their careers*
  • 50% aren't offered sick pay entitlement or flexible working conditions*
  • The rate of survivorship is increasing by 3.6% per year so the number of patients needing support will double in the next 20 years*
  • Less than 50% are advised by doctors how the treatment might affect their ability to work*

Shaw Trust provides specialist support that's proven to benefit patients, employers and the economy by getting people back to work. Our tailored way of working complements your services and we're looking for new partners to help us deliver this valuable and cost-effective service.

Our service is effective ...

Our pilot scheme with Macmillan Cancer Support and The Christie Hospital in Manchester won Innovative Service of the Year**. Its helping an estimated 50% of service users go from not working to working, or from sick leave to full or modified work.

 ... because of how we work

  • Our innovative service model follows the Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA) Standards offering three levels of support from providing basic information to assessing the patient and implementing a personalised plan
  • Everything happens through local advisers who are professional members of the VRA

 ... because who we work with

Our service complements everyone involved in the care of the patient:

  • All hospital services and carers such as Macmillan professionals
  • Employers helping them provide better staff support and comply with the Equality Act
  • Jobcentre Plus and Department of Work & Pensions through programmes such as Work Choice
  • Local authorities to improve community care and joblessness
  • Families helping them cope

Our service is cost effective ...

... because it benefits the tax payer

  • Average cost of our service per patient: £367.85
  • Tax on average annual earnings for full-time employees: £3,725
  • So if patients return to work for just five weeks, this support has paid for itself

... because it benefits the economy

If just 50% more survivors of breast cancer were better supported to stay in work, the UK economy could be boosted by £30 million every year***. So if more were done for all types of cancer survivors, the potential economic benefits are huge.

How we help

Its a wide-ranging yet very personalised service. We can offer advice on careers and dealing with colleagues, practical help with interview preparation, specialised guidance to manage a condition, or even training for employers and families.

With options like face-to-face or telephone help, our specialist advisers provide support during and after treatment, tailored to the individuals condition, location and circumstances. It starts immediately with positive messages to keep work on the agenda. Then we make sure they have everything they need to understand the impact of the diagnosis and how best to cope.

Support in work

This includes advice on areas like employment rights and workplace relationships, courses on Condition Management and practical help with better off in work calculations. We also advise employers on adjustments to work, assist with return-to-work plans and mediate if there's a disagreement.

Support finding work

Embarking on a new career is challenging at the best of times. We look at the patients options to suit their abilities and interests, including re-training if appropriate. We also have access to local, government-funded training programmes and a wide range of employers.

*Macmillan Cancer Support, 2011
**Vocational Rehabilitation Awards, 2011
***Policy Exchange The cost of cancer, 2010

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