Going to work sick is never easy. But going to work with cancer can be quite challenging. Balancing doctor appointments, check ups and treatment schedules with work deadlines can be difficult. Coping with the physical and emotional effects of cancer while also handling tasks at work, can make weekdays tough. So how can you make it through work when you have been diagnosed with cancer? For some, taking sick leave is the best option. For others, continuing to work can be a good distraction. And for some, continuing to work may be the only option.
Here are helpful tips to cope with cancer at work.
Sharing the News of Your Cancer Diagnosis
Sharing the news of your cancer diagnosis can be hard even with the people who are closest to you. Which is why, for some patients, they prefer not to say anything. For others, sharing your cancer diagnosis will be inevitable. In almost all cases, sharing the news with your boss is a must. Understanding how to present the news and anticipating normal questions will help you. Remember that you don’t need to get very specific about your condition; just the basic details are all that you need to share in the workplace. Common questions employers might ask when you share your cancer diagnosis include the following:
- How long do you expect to be able to work?
- Are you able to continue doing all of your job tasks?
- Do you need to take time off right away, and how long?
- What specific accommodations will you need?
Because each person and job is different, each answer to these questions will be unique to your situation. Depending on how physically active your work is, you may need to take off more time to recover or need other people to help you with certain job tasks. Just remember what is most important is your health. Listen to your body and give yourself the proper rest it needs.
When sharing the news with others colleagues in your workplace, prepare yourself for all possible reactions. Some co-workers will respond to a cancer diagnosis better than others. Keep in mind that this is your diagnosis, and you have the right to present it to others they way you want or not at all, if you choose.
As you go through your cancer journey, career goals that you once had may change. Many patients find that work goals and career dreams may look totally different as they progress through cancer treatment. This is okay and can be life-changing for many. Let this new perspective on life guide you to the next path in your career and life. Susan Hilburger, cancer survivor and patient of Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, had a life-changing experience just like this. Read more about her story and drastic career change after her cancer diagnosis here.
Tips for Working During Cancer Treatment
Sometimes there is no other option, but to work during cancer treatment. This can be difficult as some days will inevitably be harder than others. The following are a few tips from American Cancer Society to keep you strong during work with a cancer diagnosis:
- Plan chemo treatments towards the end of day and end of the week so you can give yourself more time to recover.
- Explore working from home options. Your boss may be open to this idea, and there are many internet jobs available for those who need to work from home.
- Take your time at home to rest so you can spend more energy at work. Let your family help you with daily household chores.
- Unless there is a reason not to, tell your closest co-workers about your cancer diagnosis. They can provide support and might be able to help you with your workload.
- Keep your boss up-to-date about your cancer treatment. Let him/her know when your cancer treatment appointments are and if/when you might need to take a few days to rest from a particularly difficult treatment.
- Make a detailed list of your workload and job duties, so you can help others get the work done if you cannot do it alone.
At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we want to provide you with the support you need before, during and after cancer treatment. Our award-winning multidisciplinary practice has been dedicated to providing the best cancer treatment possible for more than 40 years. Contact us to learn more about our patient resources and visit our website at www.cccnevada.com to learn more.