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Study, university and work

A blood cancer diagnosis can seem like a big obstacle in your way. It can help to know you have rights.

Do you tell? Four young adults discuss whether to talk about blood cancer at uni or work:

Emily, Hinna, Jamie and Leanne talk about revealing their cancer history

Cancer and your rights

The law says cancer is a disability. So you must be treated fairly at work and in education.

You don't have to tell anyone at work, college or university about your medical history. But if you do, they have to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help you carry on working or studying.

Think about what would be most helpful in your situation. Here are some ideas of reasonable adjustments to ask for:

Possible adjustments at work:

  1. taking take time off for medical appointments or counselling
  2. reducing your working hours, working flexibly or job-sharing
  3. changing your work routine to suit the times when you feel at your best
  4. taking more breaks
  5. limiting work that’s physically demanding or likely to make you tired
  6. a return to work plan
  7. getting a parking space close to work.

We have more information about money and work for people affected by blood cancer.

Nabeela at work 2

Blood cancer, coronavirus and starting my career

Nabeela tells her story about starting her career after Hodgkin lymphoma, in the middle of a pandemic.

Blood cancer, coronavirus and starting my career

Possible adjustments at college or university:

  1. extra time for assignments
  2. someone to take notes during lectures
  3. access to lesson or lecture notes or contact with teaching staff when you can’t attend
  4. use of a locker so you don’t have to carry heavy bags around
  5. permission to snack in class
  6. time off for hospital appointments or counselling
  7. use of a laptop for exams.

Find out how four young adults got their lives back on track:

Four young people talk about how blood cancer affected their work and academic life

If you’re at school

Some hospitals have teachers on site who can support you to keep up with your studies if you need treatment as an inpatient. Well at school has a list of hospital schools in the UK.

Jamie studying 200908.jpg

University after shielding – a student’s view

Jamie talks about going back to university for his third year, and the likely impact of coronavirus on university life.

University after shielding – a student’s view

Where to get support

CLIC Sargent

Provides social and community workers in many specialist TYA (teenagers and young adults) treatment units around the country.


Macmillan Cancer Support

Offers practical, medical, financial and emotional support. It also has a list of insurance companies recommended by people affected by cancer.

0808 808 0000



Has centres throughout the UK, run by specialist staff who provide information, benefits advice and psychological support.

0300 123 1801

[email protected]


ACAS has advice on your rights at work as someone with cancer.

Leanne on Blood Cancer UK's online forum

"Everyone on the Blood Cancer UK online forum is so supportive and people will always respond."




The videos on this page were shot before the coronavirus pandemic. Some activities described might not be possible at the moment. See our guidance on staying safe.