Working through cancer: Understanding the hard choices made by working men and women with cancer between treatment compliance and working on.

Country: United Kingdom;

Deadline: 17.07.2015



The morbidity associated with breast, prostate and bowel cancers can be significant ranging from the psychological and social impact of diagnosis and the side effects of treatment to pain and fatigue and the social, psychological and economic costs associated with loss of livelihood and impaired quality of life. Despite this, work engagement (wanting to work, being able to work and working) as a potential contributor to treatment discontinuity has not been investigated extensively. Often, diagnostic and treatment protocols omit information, discussion and advice on work engagement while discussions at work around cancer are challenging. One possible outcome is that critical decisions on treatment and on working through treatment or returning to work after treatment are uninformed, unsupported and often poorly made.

This PhD studentship will map the patient journey in terms of that decision making to better understand the development of the narratives involved over this time. Through a series of in-depth qualitative longitudinal interviews over a 12 month period, the aims of the proposed study are to a) develop a detailed pathway of the key decision points (work engagement, treatment and care after treatment) in the patient journey from pre-diagnosis through treatment to care after treatment and b) explore the implications for improving the situation of men and women with cancer with regards work engagement and treatment, and provide recommendations for future service provision.

Application Process:
Please apply for admission to the ’Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences’ to ensure that your application is passed to the correct college for processing.
Please provide a copy of the degree certificate and transcript for each previous degree undertaken, a copy of your English language proficiency certificate (if relevant), and contact details of two referees who can comment on your previous academic performance (at least one should be from your current degree programme). References will be requested if you are selected for interview. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Funding Notes:

Full funding is available to UK/EU candidates only. Overseas candidates can apply for this studentship but will have to find additional funding to cover the difference between overseas and home fees (approximately £11,000 per annum).

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered provided they have a Distinction at Masters level.


Wells M, Amir Z, Cox T, Eva G, Greenfield D, Hubbard G, Kyle R, MacLennan S.J, Munir F, Scott S, Sharp L, Taskila T, Wiseman T. Time to act: The challenges of working during and after cancer, initiatives in research and practice.(2014). European Journal of Oncology Nursing; 18(1), 1-2.