CPD quiz and resources: cancer at work

Life-long learning and continuing professional development (CPD) are the processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their practice.

There are many ways to address your CPD: formally, by attending courses, study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection. Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up to date with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting on what you have learned from the articles is not always easy.

These questions are designed to help you identify what you have learned from studying the article. They will also help you to clarify what you can apply in practice, what you did not understand, and what you need to explore further.

1 What does work represent to people with a cancer diagnosis?

a) The end of their working life

b) The threat of the sack

c) Loss of income and a reduction in their standard of living

d) A return to normality

2 How does a diagnosis of cancer impact their ability to work?

a) Physiologically

b) Emotionally

c) Practically

d) All of the above

3 What practicalities make working life difficult when suffering from cancer?

a) Taking time off for treatment and check-ups

b) Getting an appointment card to show to the employer

c) Arranging cover for on-call work

d) Getting line managers to understand

4 The road back to work could be made much easier for cancer survivors, but three main barriers exist. Which of the following is NOT one of the three?

a) A lack of information and advice from health professionals on working during, or returning to work after, cancer treatment

b) A lack of support and understanding from line managers

c) A lack of vocational rehabilitation services available to help people with cancer return to work

d) A lack of support for people with cancer from their employers, despite cancer being a recognised disability under the Disability Discrimination Act.

5 Which definition of vocational rehabilitation is given in the text?

a) Everything that helps someone with a health problem remain in or return to work.

b) Advice on how employers can help people with impairments or health conditions secure employment and integrate into their community

c) A process that enables people with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive and emotional impairments or health conditions to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining or returning to employment or other useful occupation.

d) A process whereby those disadvantaged by illness or disability can be enabled to access, maintain or return to employment, or other useful occupation.

6 With regard to cancer and work, what is Macmillan piloting?

a) More research into cancer and work

b) A new model of vocational rehabilitation

c) Research into how long people remain in work with cancer

d) How to carry out treatment of cancer at work

7 What has Macmillan research found are important predictors of successful adjustment back to work?

a) Good relationship with colleagues and their support

b) Good relationship with employer and phased return to work

c) Good relationship with the trade union representatives and their support

d) Sick pay paid for as long as it is needed

8 How many people with cancer were receiving Incapacity Benefit in 2008?

a) 10,000

b) 20,000

c) 30,000

d) 40,000

9 How much have economic analysts estimated could be saved per annum if breast cancer survivors were helped to remain in work?

a) £10m

b) £20m

c) £30m

d) £40m

10 Where can OH professionals obtain resources and help with supporting people with cancer returning to work?

a) NHS Plus

b) Vocational Rehabilitation Association

c) Macmillan Cancer Support Learn Zone

d) Health and Safety Executive


1. d Of course when the initial diagnosis is made, people will experience all the concerns and emotions expressed in the other answers, but a return to work represents a return to normality, which is exactly what they want to achieve. Revisit Waddell and Burton’s work, and refresh your knowledge of their findings.

2. d Consider clients with cancer you have cared for. Maybe visiting some of the resources below will help you to develop your knowledge and skills in this area.

3. a All these answers may cause problems, but the text only mentioned taking time off. Do the managers and employers you deal with have a sensible and considerate approach to this? If not, how can you help?

4. b Consider whether or not your knowledge of vocational rehabilitation after cancer is sufficient for the job you do. Discuss this with your colleagues. How can you improve the service you offer, and what positive contribution can you make? Use the resources to help you.

5. a All these definitions are taken from reputable organisations. Take some time to explore the subject and to decide on your own definition of vocational rehabilitation.

6. b

7. b

8. d

9. c

10. c There is still a lot for OH professionals to learn and do to support cancer sufferers during their treatment and/or return to work. Explore the resources available and take some time on this topic for your professional development.

Online resources on cancer support for your research needs


Macmillan Cancer Support is a registered charity offering help and advice to cancer sufferers, as well as professional development, advice and information for healthcare professionals. Much of its information is free and downloadable from the website.


You will have to register to use this site, but it is worth doing so to find out more.

www.health4work.nhs.uk/sickness_absence_management?source=GoogleNational The new website for small- to medium-sized enterprises to obtain help and support.

www.bsrm.co.uk The British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine is a learned society representing doctors who practice in rehabilitation medicine. Membership is open to all registered medical practitioners interested and concerned with its objectives.

http://www.vocationalrehabilitationassociation.org.uk The website for the vocational rehabilitation association.

http://www.rehabcouncil.org.uk/ukrc/pages/home.aspx The UK Rehabilitation Council exists to provide an authoritative voice and focal point for anyone with a stake in medical and vocational rehabilitation, and to support those who are working to help sick and injured people regain their independence.

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