Work and finance when you have advanced breast cancer

Breast cancer

Work and finance

Making decisions about work and finance

For some women, concerns about work and finance can potentially be one of the most worrying problems when diagnosed with ABC. Everybody is different and there is no right or wrong in this situation. Your decision to continue work or not will be based on your heath, your financial situation and your priorities in life.

For women who feel well enough, they choose to keep working to maintain routine and familiarity and for the social connections. Some women keep working because they need the income.

Talk to your employer to see what is possible to keep you working, if you want or need to. They may be able to help by reducing your hours, or by adjusting your role, and will discuss what entitlements (such as sick and annual leave) are available to you.

If you are self-employed, consider some changes in your working life, like employing a sub-contractor to help you.

Most employers are supportive when an employee is diagnosed with ABC. However, if you are worried that yours may not be understanding or you feel in danger of losing your job or future opportunities in your workplace, you can speak to either a union or HR representative in your workplace.

Our nurses know these issues can be top of mind and you can give the specialist team a call on 0800 226 8773 or email They can provide you with information and resources to help. Browse our Breast Cancer Services Directory, which lists over 500 businesses that also provide support.

    “My work has been amazingly supportive and basically tell me to do what I can, when I can.”
    Bridget Gage

    Getting my KiwiSaver early for health reasons and serious illness

    If your ABC diagnosis is affecting you financially, you may be able to withdraw some, or all, of your KiwiSaver early.

    Social work services

    Social workers can help you and your whānau in accessing community support services (such as home help, child care and transport to hospital appointments) and financial assistance (benefits and grants). Your specialist team can refer you to a hospital social worker, so please ask.

    Other helpful contacts: