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Working and Cancer

Working with cancer or having a colleague diagnosed with cancer can impact the workplace. Whether you’re the patient, supervisor, or co-worker, it is important to recognize every person’s situation is different and be mindful of a few things.

  • If you’re the patient, communicate with your supervisors and human resources department on ways to make working during treatment a better, less stressful experience.
  • Find the right support group or talk with someone who has been through a similar experience. Hearing from someone else can help provide you with insights and the hope to make it through this difficult time.
  • Be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to admit you may need help when you’re feeling sick.
  • Familiarize yourself with your employer’s policies to reduce stress and help you plan ahead.
  • Share your news when you feel ready.
  • Know your feelings — anger, grief, anxiety, loneliness — are normal and may carry over into the workplace.
  • Communicate regularly and openly with your manager as treatment may make you sick, tired, or both and unable to work.
  • Evaluate what you can and can’t do. Be willing to let go of things that aren't essential and engage others early to avoid overloading yourself.

If you’re a student:

  • Discuss your treatment plans with your advisor or the Dean of Students.
  • Talk to your professors about keeping current with lectures or extensions to complete assignments.
  • Consider whether taking time off is the best option for you and your situation.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.