Having mouth cancer doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to give up work. However, you may need quite a lot of time off, and you may not be able towork in the same way you did before treatment.
If you have cancer, you're covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. This means your employer isn't allowed to discriminate against you because of your illness, and they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you cope.
Examples of these include:
The definition of what is reasonable depends on the situationfor 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'll need off and when.
Talk to your human resourcesrepresentative 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, you may be able to receive help from your union or local Citizens Advice.
If you have to stop work or work part-time because of your cancer, you may find it difficult to cope financially.
If you have cancer or you're caring for someone with cancer, you may be entitled to one of the areas of financial support outlined below.
Find out as early as possible what help is available to you. Speak to the social worker at your hospital, who can give you the information you need.
People being treated for cancer are entitled to apply for an exemption certificate, giving them free prescriptions for all medication, including medicine for unrelated conditions.
The certificate is valid for five years and you can apply for it through your GP or cancer specialist.
GOV.UK has more information and advice about benefit entitlements.
It's not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.
Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. Don't feel embarrassed or awkward about telling them that you need some time to yourself, if that's what you need.
If you have questions, your GP or nurse may be able to reassure you. You may find it helpful to talk to a trained counsellor or psychologist, or someone at a specialist helpline. Your GP surgery will have information aboutthese.
Some people find it helpful to talk to other people who have mouth cancer, either at a local support group oron anonline chat room:
You can also call theSaving Faces helpline on07792 357972 (9am to 5pm) to speak to a member of staff who will be able to put you in touch with other people who've had the same treatment as you.Alternatively, you can contact them by email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're caring for someone with mouth cancer, it's important to look after yourself and get as much help as possible. You may need a break from caring if you're feeling down and finding it difficult to cope.
You can also call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.
Read about mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, including information about symptoms, types, causes, treatment, possible complications and reducing the risks.
Read about the symptoms of mouth cancer. Common symptoms are sore mouth ulcers that don't heal and unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth or neck glands.
Read about the causes of mouth cancer. The two leading causes of mouth cancer in the UK are tobacco and alcohol.
Read about how mouth cancer is diagnosed. After a physical examination, you'll have a biopsy to remove a tissue sample for testing. You may also need further tests.
Find out how mouth cancer is treated. The type of cancer, its size and how far it's spread will be considered. Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the three main treatments.
Read about the complications of mouth cancer and its treatment, which can include difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and speech problems. These can have an emotional impact.