Oncologists say the number of people beating cancer is rising and more attention needs to be given to life after treatment.

A pilot study in Adelaide is aiming to do just that by investigating the barriers cancer survivors face when returning to work.

The program by the Centre for Cancer Innovation at Flinders Medical Centre follows an earlier study in which survivors were asked about their biggest concerns after enduring months of chemotherapy and its side effects.

That research identified readjusting to the demands of working life as a major challenge.

The head of medical oncology at Flinders, Professor Bogda Koczwara, says more people are struggling with the practical, physical and emotional barriers as treatments improve.

She says the current study aims to put survivors in touch with much needed support and inform employers about their experiences and needs.

"At present there's no structured approach to help them return to employment, and employment is very valuable for cancer survivors for a number of reasons, ranging from identity to gaining an income," she said.

"We would assist in communication with employers in such a way that appropriate information is conveyed to the employer so the work environment can be adapted if need."

Orthopaedic nurse Vicki Moss was diagnosed with breast cancer in April last year.

She wanted to continue working but was forced to take time off and says after five gruelling months on chemotherapy, resuming her job was tough.

"I was accepted into a research project where they offered me an exercise program and a dietician and I think that really helped considerably as far as giving me the energy to get back to work and get strength back into my body," she said

"One of the biggest challenges was constantly submitting paperwork for your income protection and not being sure if they would accept it but I did have a really supportive manager and team who allowed me to come back at my own pace."

Vicki Moss says she was lucky in having that support but sympathises with others who are forced straight back into work.

"There would be a huge financial pressure and I can understand that people would do that despite feeling absolutely awful because they'd have to go back to work to probably even just keep the house," she said.

"Maintaining your bills, just your food bill and your mortgage bill is very difficult."

Professor Koczwara says survivors in that situation stand to benefit hugely from the pilot program.

"We are able to provide useful information on what to expect in terms of cancer and its treatment and how it may act on ability to work," she said.

"There are opportunities for support that relate to practical, financial or sometimes legal support... and of course rehabilitation with regards to physiotherapy, occupational therapy."

The study is being coordinated by the hospital's existing cancer survivorship program.

People receiving centre treatment at Flinders will soon have the opportunity to join the study.