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Work & School

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

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 work or school programs;
  • understanding insurance benefits or;
  • accessing appropriate rehabilitation sources.
A counsellor is available by appointment either in person, at BC Cancer – Vancouver 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 tips on working with a vocational rehabilitation counsellor from an insurance company, click here.

Tips for writing a résumé

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

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


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


Always put your best foot forward in your résumé 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



School support

Going back to school

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.


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