Breast cancer awareness in the workplace

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Health Assured team

04 October 2021

Around 1 in 8 women get diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime¹.

That works out at around 150 people every day².

Daily life can become difficult for people living with breast cancer. From dealing with diagnosis to going through treatment and healing from the illness. Workplaces need to recognise the impact a diagnosis has on an employee’s life. This October, we’re urging employers to shout about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Because when breast cancer gets detected early, recovery rates are a lot higher¹.

There are steps employers can take to raise awareness of breast cancer in the workplace. It should form part of the wider workplace wellbeing strategy. This strategy will help to create an inclusive organisational culture that values employees.

Read on to discover the ways you can raise breast cancer awareness in the workplace.

Signpost employees to relevant and reliable sources

The information you share about breast cancer should come from a reputable source. Sharing relevant information is the best way to trigger employee’s awareness. It could be via email, with a poster or directly addressing the topic with the team. Cancer Research UK, the NHS and Breast Cancer Now are all good sources to use.

Encourage staff to use health incentives

If your workplace offers any medical plan or mental health support, ensure you’re encouraging employees to use it. You provide support to employees for a reason. Employers have a duty of care to protect their staff. But often, these health and wellbeing incentives become underused in times of need. This mental and physical health support can be invaluable to employees who are dealing with breast cancer. So make sure they know how they can access it.

Being breast aware

Cancer often comes with a stigma in the workplace. Employers can break this stigma by addressing health concerns like cancer directly. Encourage employees to be breast aware. Communicate the ways employees can protect themselves from breast cancer. Highlight the signs, symptoms and protective measures. This will help to raise awareness and reduce the stigma.

Breast cancer prevention

Certain lifestyle factors can increase someone’s risk of developing breast cancer. These include being tall, overweight or obese and drinking alcohol¹. For this reason, promoting general health and wellbeing in the workplace is even more essential. Here are our top tips for promoting a healthy lifestyle at work:

  • Share health information
  • Offer free fruit
  • Provide a cycle to work scheme
  • Exercise classes
  • Discounts to health stores/memberships
  • Offer an EAP
  • Provide healthcare plans

Be flexible with employees

Breast cancer can completely shift the priorities of life. Health must come first. This may mean employees need time off to attend appointments or recover from treatment. Employers must support employees through this already difficult time. Where you can, be flexible with employees needs and try to make reasonable adjustments. This makes living and working with breast cancer more manageable for employees struggling.


¹ 2019. Breast cancer in women. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 4 October 2021].

² Cancer Research UK. 2021. Breast cancer statistics. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 4 October 2021].

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