Almost one in five people diagnosed with cancer who return to work face discrimination, says charity Macmillan.
A survey of 1,000 people revealed many suffered problems when they returned to work or were made to feel guilty about having time off for medical appointments.
Some 15% say they went back to work before they felt ready, while 14% said they gave up work altogether or were made redundant as a result of their diagnosis.
People living with cancer should know that they have the full support of their employer to return to work, if they want and are able to do so. It's appalling that, during an already difficult and often stressful time, so many employers are not offering the right support to people with cancer, leaving them with little choice but to leave. We know that, for many people living with cancer, work helps them to feel more in control and maintain a sense of normality. Returning to work after cancer can also be an integral part of their recovery, so it is crucial that employers show support and understanding to make this a reality.
The survey also found that 85% of people diagnosed with cancer who had a job felt carrying on working was important to them.
Some 60% said this helped them keep a sense of normality, while 45% said they enjoyed their job and 45% said they needed the money.
Macmillan is now calling on employers to make sure that they have appropriate policies in place to support staff affected by cancer.
It also said they should check they are fulfilling their legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments which could enable people with cancer to stay in or return to work.