Life with bowel cancer


Going for job interviews - do you tell them you have Bowel Cancer and still needing chemo?

Looking at relocating and will need to secure a job, but my mind is on the issue of disclosure of my condition (stage 4 on palliative/ maintenance chemo).

On one hand I am vaguely aware that having cancer is treated as a disability and that there should not be discrimination, but being realistic, any employer is going to look at this as a negative point as I'll need a day off every 2 weeks for chemo and time off for going for blood test the day before treatment and the other host of appointments for pump removal and general appointments etc. So there is a side of me that says "keep schtum"

Is there an obligation to disclose my condition before being offered a job?

I am also sympathetic to an employer's situation in that to be told all this after accepting a position would majorly annoy them.

So what are any "ground rules" here?

Would be interested to learn of other people's experiences.

I have continued working full time since being diagnosed last December and have had 25 chemo sessions so far with positive results.


Hi @Lee1974

Glad you sound like things are ticking along nicely with your treatment and general health and wellbeing.

I think in addition to advice from bbc/bowel cancer uk that maybe Macmillan possibly have info on rights at work etc so might be worth contacting them too? Perhaps @RosemaryA and /or @Charlotte Nurse Advisor can offer some advice for you?

Wishing you all the best with the interview and your relocation plans.



Hello @Lee1974

Lee you are a real star how you are managing with work a real inspiration.
ut fel
First join a union and if you already a member contact them and get their advice. You are under no obligation to disclose a disability and employers need to make reasonable adaptations whether that is ergonomic or time needed for treatment.

Maybe if you are going for several interviews test the water if you get good vibes then let them know, if not then say nothing. I have two jobs one with regular hours and another zero hour contract, but they have been good but hope to reduce hours going forward.

You have a real dilemma can only wish you all the best. I was going to change jobs but did not as it was a case of the devil you know.

Good luck ;D

Charlotte Nurse Advisor

Dear @Lee1974,

This decision is really yours and I’m sure you’ll get sound advise re. Disability rights from Macmillan.

My feeling is that yes they are going to know as soon as you tell them which you will need to do if at the very least to explain your regular absence whilst you have treatment.

If you are upfront with them and they refuse to employ you that kind of indicates what sort of employer they might be and therefore may not be terribly supportive of you through your treatment? Just a thought.

It is as I say a personal decision.

Kindest regards



@Lee1974 - I rarely post any more but I have some experience in this area. You are not obliged to disclose at interview - however, if you sign a medical declaration and fail to disclose any known medical condition and then after employment this comes to light, you would most probably be deemed to be in breach of contract.
If you disclose your condition, then the employer should NOT discriminate against you if in all other areas you fit all criteria and are the 'best' candidate for the position. They should employ you and then, in consultation with yourself, make all 'reasonable ' adjustments to allow you to fulfil your duties. If, having made those adjustments, your condition/circumstances change and you are unable to carry out your role, and there are no further adjustments that the employer can make, they are legally entitled to cease your employment, but you should seek professional advice should this become the case.
I hope this helps a little - but if there is any doubt in your mind at any stage of the process, do seek advice from an HR specialist, union representatives or Citizens Advice
Regards, Hilary


@Lee1974, hi, like others said , you don't have to disclose your medical info., but through my experience as I work in account and HR, employer will prefer you to tell them something like this upfront so can work around you and support you if you are honest! But if they discover you have a disability and you didn't disclose, they don't like this. Sometimes it can work on ur favour when you are honest. Of course do what is best for you. Good luck. :x::x:


Thanks to everyone who has replied on this thread.


No problem best of luck @Lee1974. :)