Cervical Cancer – Life After Treatment (in U.K.)

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cervical cancer awareness monthLife after treatment

How cervical cancer affects your daily life will depend very much on what stage your disease is at, and what treatment you’re having.

Many women with cervical cancer have a radical hysterectomy.

cervical cancer patientThis is a major operation, and it takes around six to 12 weeks to recover from it. During this time you need to avoid lifting (e.g. children, heavy shopping bags) and heavy housework. You won’t be able to drive for anything from three to eight weeks after the operation. Most women will need eight to 12 weeks off work after a radical hysterectomy.

Some of the treatments for cervical cancer, particularly chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can make you very tired. You may need to take a break from some of your normal activities for a while. Don’t be afraid to ask for practical help from family and friends if you need it.

Practical help may be available from your local authority. Ask your doctor or nurse about who to contact.
 
Want to know more?

Macmillan Cancer Support

 
Work

Having cervical cancer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to give up work. But you may need quite a lot of time off, and you may not be able to carry on completely as before during your treatment.

If you have cancer you’re covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. This means that your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because of your illness. They have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help you cope.

Examples of these include:

  • allowing you time off for treatment and medical appointments
  • allowing flexibility with working hours, the tasks you have to perform or your working environment.

The definition of what is ‘reasonable’ depends on the situation. For example, how much it would affect your employer’s business.

It will help if you give your employer as much information as possible about how much time you will need off and when. Talk to your human resources department if you have one. Your union or staff association representative should also be able to give you advice.

If you’re having difficulties with your employer, your union or your local Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help.

Want to know more?

 

Cancer Backup/Macmillan Cancer Support: work and cancer

 
Money and benefits

If you have to reduce or stop work because of your cancer, you may find it hard to cope financially. If you have cancer or you’re caring for someone with cancer, you may be entitled to financial support.

You may be eligible for other benefits if you have children living at home or you have a low household income.

It’s a good idea to find out early on what help is available to you. You could ask to speak to the social worker at your hospital, who will be able give you the information you need.

Free prescriptions
People being treated for cancer are entitled to apply for an exemption certificate giving free prescriptions for all medication, including that which treats unrelated conditions.
The certificate is valid for five years. You can apply for a certificate by speaking to your GP or cancer specialist.

Want to know more?
Directgov: benefits information

 

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