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Work & School

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Cancer and its side effects can affect your work-life or education plans. You may need some support and information


Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling

Our vocational rehabilitation counsellor is available to discuss your concerns about work or school. This can include talking about: returning to work; staying or stopping work; learning about programs; understanding your insurance benefits or; accessing appropriate rehab sources.

A counsellor is available by appointment either in person, in Vancouver, or by telephone for patients outside the Vancouver area and who require assistance with work-related issues. 

Call 1-800-663-3333 ext. 672126 to make an appointment with a vocational rehab counsellor.

Learn More about working with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor 


‎Our vocational rehabilitation counsellor is available to discuss your concerns about work or school. This can include: talking about returning to work; staying or stopping work; learning about work or school programs; understanding insurance benefits or; accessing appropriate rehabilitation sources.

A counsellor is available by appointment either in person, at the Vancouver Cancer Centre or by telephone for patients outside of the Vancouver area and who require assistance with work-related issues.

Call 1-800-663-3333 ext. 672126 to make an appointment.

For more information go to Tips to working with a vocational rehabilitation counsellor


Cancer & Returning to Work: A practical guide for Cancer Patients (2014)

This guide will help you think about and take the necessary steps to get back to working after having cancer and treatment. A job analysis worksheet is available in the guide.

How to get your copy:

  1. Individuals who have received treatment or are receiving treatment at BC Cancer, can call and ask for a free copy from Patient & Family Counselling Services at a cancer centre
  2. Order a copy, go to the PHSA Bookstore. The cost is $20.00 each + shipping & handling
  3. Borrow a copy from the BC Cancer library

Cancer & Work website:

Find information on returning to work / staying at work by going to the Cancer & Work website, visit and select Survivors
Returning to work image.jpg


This presentation covers the steps that someone, who has a history of a brain tumour, can take to help them prepare for returning to their place of work. 

By watching this webinar you will learn: 
  • Steps you can take to prepare for return to work
  • Resources available to improve work ability
  • Adaptations and strategies to improve functioning at work

Become an expert in resume writing

If you feel that explaining gaps in your resume, because of taking time off for cancer treatment puts you at some disadvantage in finding work. These steps may help you.


Adopt the attitude that your resume is never finished and you are always looking for ways to improve it to give you the edge over other people. 

Use informational interviews

Use informational interviewing to network with potential employers. If an interview goes well and the employer connects and likes you, he or she may be more likely to overlook gaps in work history because of health problems, when a job comes up.

Use a skills focused resume

Use a hybrid style resume that highlights your transferable skills, that you can offer to the job, and de-emphasizes employment history.


When you see a job posting

Highlight the verbs in job postings and create a resume for each job you want to apply for by incorporating and categorizing verbs into subheadings and skill areas. 

Utilize reader fatigue

Always put your best foot forward in your resume and feature what accomplishments you are most proud of and what employers want to see first. If you want to de-emphasize your job experience, put it at the bottom of the resume. Use extra spacing to emphasize your strengths and fewer spaces (i.e. single spacing) for your weaker areas.

For more information visit (changing work/looking for work)

The demands of college, trades and training programs can be hard to handle. You are wise to plan up front and give yourself the best chance of success.  As a result of your cancer and treatments, you may find changes in your body such as fatigue (low energy), muscle weakness, or changes in vision, hearing or movement.  Some people may have changes in thinking and attending to information or memorizing things.   

You may also feel less able to cope with the stress of a full course load.  If your problem is mainly fatigue, it can be helpful to return to school part time, to allow yourself to adjust to school demands and finish your healing.  It is worth speaking to your school counseling department for advice and support about housing, so you can be successful in your learning.   

If your changes go beyond fatigue ask your doctor if this is expected, whether this will get better or not and whether you would benefit from medical, rehabilitation and psychological support.   

Vocational rehabilitation counselling and group support is on hand at BC Cancer to help those who would like explore ways to stay at school or return to school but are coping with cancer care and healing. 

Vocational rehabilitation assessment is also available to those who would like to explore career choices before committing to a training program.

If you require resources for emotional support please see Emotional Support Resources

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