Prostate cancer can have an impact on everyday life. Get
the facts about work, money, daily life and travel.
On this page
If you're living with and after cancer then continuing to work
or returning to work can be an important way of getting back to
everyday life. But not everyone is able to continue working, and
some men decide to work part-time, or take early retirement.
You may need to take time off work for treatments. This includes
time for travelling to hospital and in some cases time to recover.
See our surgery
page for information about time off after surgery. Ask your
doctor or nurse for advice on how much time you will need to take
Side effects of treatments could affect your working day. For
example, having urinary problems, hot flushes or tiredness may mean
you need to take extra breaks.
Your rights at work
If you have prostate cancer then the Equality Act 2010 covers
you. The Equality Act is a law that protects anyone who has, or has
had, a disability - cancer is classed as a disability under this
law. Even if you no longer have cancer, you are still protected
If you live in Northern Ireland you have protection under the
Disability Discrimination Act.
Under these laws your employer has a duty to make 'reasonable
adjustments' to where and how you work, to make sure that you get
the same chances as the people you work with.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments include:
- allowing you time off to attend medical appointments
- allowing extra breaks
- temporarily allowing you to have lighter duties
- providing adequate toilet facilities.
You can find out more about the law and working during and after
cancer treatment from Macmillan Cancer Support.
What else can help?
Let your employer know more about prostate cancer and how its
impacts on you. If you do not feel like talking about it then
you could give them some of our publications to read.
Take a look at your company policies and employee handbook if
you have them. Talk to your occupational health service for advice
if your company has one.
Go to your employer with suggestions about what would help you.
For example: taking extra breaks, working from home, flexible
hours, changing your job role or duties for a while.
Know your legal rights. Find out more about the law and make
sure your boss or company is aware of it. You could also contact
your union if you are part of one.
If you are self-employed or if you are looking for work you can
get more specific information from Macmillan Cancer Support or Disability
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If you are struggling with the financial costs of cancer, or
your income has changed you should be able to get some help.
If you've had time off work, find out if statutory sick pay and
occupational or company sick pay are relevant to you. Check your
employment contract or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau -
their number should be in the phone book or on their website citizensadvice.org.uk. You can get information
from the official government websites - GOV.UK and nidirect.gov.uk
As a result of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 the benefits system
will be changing over the next few years. The organisations listed
below can give you the latest information about the help you can
The benefits you are entitled to vary depending on whether you are
working, how old you are and other factors. Find out more about
benefits and how to apply for them.
Grants from other charities or organisations are available.
Contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau - they offer free,
independent, confidential and impartial advice. Their number should
be in the phone book or on their website citizensadvice.org.uk
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Getting help at
Some men with prostate cancer have told us that they had
difficulty carrying out their usual activities. This could be
because of side effects, symptoms like pain, or because they are
not as mobile as they used to be.
If you think you could do with some extra help in the home, get
in touch with your GP or local council and ask about social
services (social work department in Scotland) to see if they can
give you some advice or support.
You can ask social services to assess your needs - and the needs
of your carer, if you have one. For example, this assessment
- equipment or adaptations to your home
- help at home, for example with getting dressed, cooking or
tasks like housework or shopping
- breaks away from home for you or anyone who is caring for
social care professionals who can help
Your local social services department can refer you to an
occupational therapist (OT). They can help you overcome any
practical problems that you might have and help you live as
independently as possible. They can assess whether you need help at
home or work and give advice about equipment or adaptations to the
A social worker can give you advice about practical issues such as
money, work and things to make day-to-day living easier. Your GP,
nurse or hospital doctor could also arrange for you to meet an OT
or social worker.
Driving and public
The Blue Badge Scheme helps people park closer to their
destination if they are disabled and find it very hard to walk.
Contact your local council for details.
The Motability Scheme can help you lease or buy a car if you get
certain benefits. Even if you don't drive yourself, you can apply
for a car as a passenger and propose up to two other people as your
drivers. You could also be eligible to get help to adapt a car you
already have to make it more suitable. To find out more call
Motability on 0845 456 4566.
If you use public transport you might get discounts and free
travel. Contact your local council for more details. To find your
local council contact details:
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Travel and travel
If you're planning a holiday your cancer could affect things
like where you go and how long you go away for. This shouldn't stop
you from travelling but it may affect what you need to take with
you and the sort of things you do while you're away.
Some of the things you might want to think about are listed
below. You can also read our Travel
timeline for tips on preparing for your trip.
Your treatment and the way you're feeling
- If you need to have new vaccinations, check with your doctor
that it's safe for you to have them.
- Radiotherapy treatment may make your skin more sensitive to the
sun. This might affect where you go and the things you do on
- Chemotherapy can weaken your immune system, making it easier
for you to pick up infections. You may need to take extra care of
your health on holiday.
- If you've had brachytherapy you could set off airport radiation
sensors. Ask your doctor for an advice card saying you've had
treatment with internal radiation. Take this with you, especially
when travelling by air.
- Having cancer - and treatments such as surgery, hormone therapy
and chemotherapy - may increase your risk of getting a blood clot,
especially when flying. Speak to your doctor or nurse about
Travelling with your medication
- Ask your doctor for a letter saying what your medicines are
- Carry information about your condition, medicines and
treatments in case you need to see a doctor while you're away.
- Make sure you have enough medicine to last your entire trip -
and some extra in case of emergencies.
- Check if you need a special license to travel with your
- Some airlines have special rules about transporting
prescription medicines. Before you travel, check whether you need
to make any special arrangements for transporting your
- Check if you need to store your medicines in any special
conditions, for example a cool bag or fridge?
- Keep a list of the proper names (not just the brand names) and
doses of your medicines in case you need to get more.
What to pack and other arrangements
- If you have urinary problems and use pads, make sure you pack
enough for your trip and a few extra in case of delays.
- If you use a catheter, take a spare one and plenty of extra
drainage bags or catheter valves with you.
- If you're travelling to a non-English speaking country, it
might be a good idea to have your medical documents
- If you need a wheelchair, access to a toilet or a special meal
for your journey, ask your travel company to sort this out before
Getting healthcare abroad
- Apply for a European Health
Insurance Card (EHIC) if you don't already have one. This
allows you to have medical treatment in most European countries for
free, or at a lower cost.
- The EHIC does not always cover the full cost of treatment and
it does not cover everything.
- Buy travel insurance that covers any problems you might have
while you're away.
Tips for getting travel insurance
If you're travelling abroad, it's a good idea to buy travel
insurance before your trip. Travel insurance covers the cost of
things that go wrong while you're away. For example, you might lose
your suitcase or have to cancel your holiday. It can also cover the
cost of any medical treatment that isn't covered by the EHIC, so
it's very very important to get travel insurance, even if you're
staying in Europe.
- Look up the cost of your travel insurance before booking your
trip as the insurance for some destinations is more expensive than
- Get quotes from high street companies as well as insurance
brokers and specialist companies.
- Make sure you know exactly what you're covered for, and what
you're not covered for.
- Macmillan Cancer
Support provides a
list of travel insurance companies and brokers that might be
useful. This list is updated every six months but insurance
companies change their policies often so you may want to look into
other companies as well.
Read our online fact sheet: Travel and
prostate cancer, for more information about planning a holiday
and tips for sorting out travel insurance.
Specialist Nurses’ tips on travelling with prostate cancer or other
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